Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, Blue Moon Aviation LLC, N1572J: Accident occurred February 01, 2016 at Sylvania Airport (C89), Sturtevant, Racine County, Wisconsin

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Aviation Accident Final Report  - National Transportation Safety Board:   http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:   http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA097
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, February 01, 2016 in Sturtevant, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/12/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-140, registration: N1572J
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The commercial pilot was performing the fourth in a series of landings at dusk. While on final approach, the low-wing airplane's landing gear impacted a tractor-trailer traveling on the highway perpendicular to the runway. All three of the airplane's landing gear separated, and the pilot performed a go-around followed by a "belly" landing to the parallel grass runway.

Following a similar accident about 19 years earlier, the airport installed a precision approach path indicator (PAPI) to provide visual glidepath guidance for pilots. The PAPI was inoperative at the time of the accident, and the airport had not issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to alert pilots of this fact. It is likely that the pilot's visual references were reduced due to the dusk conditions, and it is probable that, had the PAPI been operative and providing corrective feedback to the pilot, he would have adjusted the airplane's excessively low glidepath accordingly. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain a proper glidepath during a landing at dusk, which resulted in impact with a moving ground vehicle. Contributing to the accident was the inoperative precision approach path indicator.

On February 1, 2016, about 1715 central standard time, a Piper PA 28-140 airplane, N1572J, collided with a moving vehicle while on short final approach to runway 26L at the Sylvania Airport (C89), near Sturtevant, Wisconsin. The commercial pilot and his passenger were uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial fuselage damage when the landing gear separated from the airplane during the vehicle collision and during the subsequent landing on runway 26R without landing gear. The airplane was registered to Blue Moon Aviation LLC and was operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area of the accident site about the time of the accident and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the John H Batten Airport (RAC), near Racine, Wisconsin, about 1615.

According to the pilot's accident report, he departed from RAC and performed four landings at C89. He departed from C89 about 1635 to view some local sights and returned to C89 about 1710 where he performed two more landings on "runway 26." He stated, in part, that "during the final approach on a 3rd landing, the aircraft's landing gear clipped the top back of a tractor-trailer, resulting in the loss of all 3 landing gear." The pilot performed a go around and landed on the grass runway. He reported that the belly landing was "smooth." He stated that the visual approach slope indicator was inoperative at the time of the accident.

The separated landing gear came to rest on Interstate Highway 94. The highway's shoulder was about 350 feet east of the runway's displaced threshold. The highway did not have any caution signs warning drivers of low flying airplanes. A vehicle in the northbound lanes of the highway impacted a separated landing gear.

The impacted tractor-trailer was reported to have a red colored tractor and white trailer. The tractor-trailer did not stop following the impact with the airplane.

N1572J, a 1967 Piper PA 28-140, serial number 28-23978, was a single-engine, low wing, four-place airplane, with fixed tricycle landing gear. The airplane's last annual inspection was completed on June 2, 2015.

At 1653, the recorded weather at the Kenosha Municipal Airport, near Kenosha, Wisconsin, was: Wind 290 degrees at 3 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 3 degrees C; dew point -2 degrees C; altimeter 30.05 inches of mercury. According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, sunset in the Sturtevant, Wisconsin, area was 1704.

The pilot reported dusk conditions were present at the time of the accident. The published end of civil twilight was 1734.

C89 was a non-towered airport, which was privately owned and was open to the public. It was located about three miles west of Sturtevant, Wisconsin. The airport had an estimated elevation of 788 feet above mean sea level. The airport was serviced by two runways, 8L/26R and 8R/26L. Runway 8R/26L was a 2,272 foot by 38 foot asphalt runway. Runway 8L/26R was a 2,343 foot by 120 foot turf runway. According to the airport's master record, the left side of runway 26L was equipped with a two-light precision approach path indicator (PAPI).

According to National Transportation Safety Board report CHI98LA061, on December 13, 1997, at 1545 central standard time (cst), a Piper PA-28-140, N5454S, piloted by a student pilot, was destroyed during a collision with a moving tractor-trailer truck and terrain while on short final approach to runway 26L (2,300' X 33' dry/asphalt) at the Sylvania Airport, Sturtevant, Wisconsin. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight departed Sturtevant, Wisconsin, at 1540 cst.

The investigator in charge of the 1997 accident discussed the potential airplane and highway vehicular traffic conflict and suggested the "State of Wisconsin and airport owner provide usable glide path guidance for pilots landing on runway 26L." The Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics responded through a letter that, in part, said: "We have begun preliminary discussions with the department's Office of Transportation Safety. This office should address the glideslope indicator and its installation due to the multimodal benefits. We have placed the Sylvania Airport into a list of candidates for our Airport Marking Program. Completion of runway marking will be after the installation of the glideslope indicator system."

A PAPI was subsequently installed on runway 26L.

C89's manager was asked about the status of the PAPI. He indicated that it was out of service because of frost heaves in the winter that affect the PAPI installation. The PAPI's tilt switch reportedly senses it is not level following the frost heaving and shuts itself off so that an erroneous path is not indicated to pilots.

A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) is a notice filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight. According to Automated Flight Service Station records, a NOTAM was issued for runway 26L's PAPI being out of service on February 2, 2016.

The Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics was informed of the accident with N1572J and asked if it is possible to get the PAPI installed properly. The Chief of the Aeronautical and Technical Services at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) replied, in part, "In our 1999 letter, we commit to opening a dialog with a different office within WisDOT to explore the applicability of their transportation safety program to the needs at C89. We also added C89 to the list for our runway marking program. However, neither of these initiatives resulted in WisDOT sponsoring PAPI work. Our records indicate that the airport installed them on their own and have been maintaining them since.

As a privately owned airport, C89 is not in our State Airport System Plan and thus, is not eligible for any state funding. Our Bureau of Aeronautic staff is more than willing to work with the airport and provide guidance to them so they may appropriately address the PAPI deficiency."

Representatives from the Bureau of Field Operations, Wisconsin State Patrol and from the Racine County Sheriff's Office were asked if the accident tractor-trailer was located. At the date of publication of this report, they have not indicated that the accident tractor-trailer has been located.

A representative from WisDOT reported that they intend to install caution signs that will alert drivers on the highway of low flying airplanes. The installation is planned for November or December 2016.

BLUE MOON AVIATION LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N1572J

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA097
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, February 01, 2016 in Sturtevant, WI
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-140, registration: N1572J
Injuries: 2 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. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On February 1, 2016, about 1715 central standard time, a Piper PA 28-140 airplane, N1572J, collided with a moving vehicle while on short final approach to runway 26L at the Sylvania Airport (C89), near Sturtevant, Wisconsin. The commercial pilot and his passenger were uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial fuselage damage when the vehicle separated the landing gear from the airplane during the collision and during the subsequent landing on runway 26R without landing gear. The airplane was registered to Blue Moon Aviation LLC and was operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight]. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area of the accident site about the time of the accident and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the John H Batten Airport, near Racine, Wisconsin, at time unknown and was destined for C89.

During an initial telephone call to the accident pilot, he was asked if he had flown into C89 before and he indicated that he had. He indicated that the approach was a normal approach until he heard the impact. He was asked if he used the installed PAPI during the accident approach. He indicated he did not use the PAPI as it was out of service.

N1572J, a 1967 Piper PA 28-140, serial number 28-23978, was a single-engine, low wing, four-place airplane, with fixed tricycle landing gear.

At 1653, the recorded weather at the Kenosha Municipal Airport, near Kenosha, Wisconsin, was: Wind 290 degrees at 3 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 3 degrees C; dew point -2 degrees C; altimeter 30.05 inches of mercury. According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, sunset in the Sturtevant, Wisconsin, area was 1704.

C89 was a non-towered airport, which was privately owned and was open to the public. It was located about three miles west of Sturtevant, Wisconsin. The airport had an estimated elevation of 788 feet above mean sea level. The airport was serviced by two runways, 8L/26R and 8R/26L. Runway 8R/26L was a 2,272 foot by 38 foot asphalt runway. According to the airport's master record, the left side of runway 26L was equipped with a two-light precision approach path indicator (PAPI).

According to National Transportation Safety Board report CHI98LA061, on December 13, 1997, at 1545 central standard time (cst), a Piper PA-28-140, N5454S, piloted by a student pilot, was destroyed during a collision with a moving tractor-trailer truck and terrain while on short final approach to runway 26L (2,300' X 33' dry/asphalt) at the Sylvania Airport, Sturtevant, Wisconsin. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight departed Sturtevant, Wisconsin, at 1540 cst.

The investigator in charge of the 1997 accident discussed the potential airplane and highway vehicular traffic conflict and suggested the "State of Wisconsin and airport owner provide usable glide path guidance for pilots landing on runway 26L." The Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics responded through a letter that, in part, said: "We have begun preliminary discussions with the department's Office of Transportation Safety. This office should address the glideslope indicator and its installation due to the multimodal benefits. We have placed the Sylvania Airport into a list of candidates for our Airport Marking Program. Completion of runway marking will be after the installation of the glideslope indicator system."

A PAPI was subsequently installed on runway 26L.

C89's manager was asked about the current status of the PAPI. He indicated that it was out of service because the PAPI installation frost heaves during the winter. The PAPI's tilt switch reportedly senses it is not level following the frost heaving and shuts itself off so that an erroneous path is not indicated to pilots.

A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) is a notice filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight. According to Automated Flight Service Station records, a NOTAM was issued for runway 26L's PAPI being out of service on February 2, 2016.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Milwaukee FSDO-13




RACINE COUNTY-- Noel DuPont was on his way home from work when he noticed something unusual.

"I remembered seeing a plane as I first got on the ramp and it looked like it was kind of low to the freeway like more than usual and I didn't think much of it," said Noel DuPont, Washington County.

Two Racine County residents were trying to land the small plane at Sylvania Airport in Sturtevant when it came in too low. The Racine County Sheriff's Department says the experienced pilot struck a semi truck on I-94 before making an emergency landing.  Investigators believe that's how the landing gear was torn from the aircraft.

"There was a semi to my left and I remember either the car in front of me pulled out of the way and then the next thing you know it looked like it was a dead animal in the road and bam I hit what turns out to be a piece of landing gear," explained DuPont.

The driver dragged the debris about a tenth of a mile.

"It's too surreal I mean you don't typically have plane parts laying on the freeway."

DuPont is questioning the safety of the small airport.

"I've heard of several things at this little airport and it brings into question whether it's too close to an interstate."

The husband and wife on the plane escaped without injuries. The 65 year old pilot landed the plane in the grass at the end of the runway.

The semi truck drove off without stopping. The FAA is investigating the incident. 

Story and video:  http://www.tmj4.com

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