Friday, May 13, 2016

Piper PA-22-108 Tri-Pacer, N5823Z: Accident occurred May 13, 2016 at Sumner County Regional Airport (M33), Gallatin, Tennessee

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

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA183 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 13, 2016 in Gallatin, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/26/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA 22, registration: N5823Z
Injuries: 3 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.

During preflight inspection of the airplane, the pilot discovered three baby birds in the cockpit. After removing the birds, he continued his preflight inspection, looking for a nest. He noticed that the rag normally used to cover one of the elevator openings was missing, but he did not find a nest inside. Immediately after takeoff, about 100 ft above ground level, a fire started within the engine compartment, and smoke began to enter the cockpit. The pilot turned the airplane back toward the runway, but lost control as the airplane touched down because his visibility was limited by the smoke. The occupants egressed the airplane, which was subsequently consumed by fire. Postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed remnants of a bird nest between the exhaust manifold and the engine firewall, which was the likely origin of the fire.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection, which resulted in an inflight fire due to the presence of a bird nest in the engine compartment.

On May 13, 2016, about 1430 central daylight time, a Piper PA-22, N5823Z, was substantially damaged during an emergency landing at Sumner County Regional Airport (M33) Gallatin, Tennessee. The private pilot and two passengers were uninjured. The airplane was privately owned and operated. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local, personal flight that was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot stated that when he arrived at the airplane to conduct his preflight inspection, the cockpit area contained "three live baby birds." He did not see any sign of a nest, but did notice that one of the elevator openings was not covered up by a rag that he placed in the opening several months before. He resumed his preflight inspection and did not see any additional evidence of bird activity or a nest. After engine start and a 5-minute taxi, he departed runway 35.

During the initial climb, about 100 feet above ground level, black smoke started pouring out of the left side rudder area. The pilot attempted to make a 180-degree steep turn back to runway 17. During the turn, fire emanated out of the left side of the rudder pedal area. The pilot stated he attempted to stomp out the fire near his left foot but was unable to extinguish the blaze. The cockpit filled with smoke and limited ability to see the runway. He touched down at an airspeed between 30 and 40 knots but could not see the runway.

A witness reported that after touching down on the runway, the airplane's "tail started going back and forth." The airplane bounced several times, swerved and departed the right side of the paved surface of the runway and nosed over into the grass, approximately two-thirds of the way down the runway. After it came to rest, the passengers and pilot evacuated before the airplane became engulfed in flames.

According to the pilot and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. The pilot reported 959 total hours of flight experience, and 159 of those hours where in the accident airplane make and model.

According to FAA and airplane maintenance records, an annual inspection was completed on September 1, 2015 and at that time the airframe had accumulated 4,013 total hours.

The airplane came to rest on its nose, about 45 degrees nose down, approximately 3,700 feet down runway 17, and 6 feet off the paved surface. Both propeller blades exhibited chordwise scraping and were curled aft. The engine compartment was fire-damaged, with the most severe damage located aft of the engine near the firewall. The fire propagated aft from the engine compartment, through the cockpit and to the left wing, fuselage and tail. The right wing and right elevator remained covered with fabric and remained largely intact. An exterior examination of the engine revealed remnants of a bird nest between the top of the exhaust manifold and the firewall. No other abnormalities were noted.

http://registry.faa.gov/N5823Z 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Nashville FSDO-19


NTSB Identification: ERA16LA183
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 13, 2016 in Gallatin, TN
Aircraft: PIPER PA 22, registration: N5823Z
Injuries: 3 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 May 13, 2016, about 1430 central daylight time, a Piper PA-22, N5823Z, was substantially damaged during a forced landing and subsequent loss of control while attempting to land runway 17 at Sumner County Regional Airport (M33) Gallatin, Tennessee. During the initial climb after takeoff from runway 35, a fire developed and filled the cockpit with smoke. The pilot returned for landing and after touchdown, he lost control and veered off into the grass, where the nose gear collapsed, causing the airplane to tip forward onto the nose. The private pilot and his two passengers were uninjured. The airplane was operated by a private individual as a local pleasure flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

During a phone interview with the pilot, he stated that when he showed up to the airplane to conduct his preflight, the cockpit area contained "3 live baby birds." He did not see any sign of a nest, but did notice that the one of the elevator "holes" was not covered up by a rag that he placed in it several months before. He resumed his preflight and did not find anything else unusual.

The pilot said he started the engine and taxied for about 5 minutes before taking runway 35 for departure. During the initial climb, at about 100ft above ground level, black smoke started pouring into the cockpit from behind the left rudder pedal area. The pilot attempted to make a 180 degree steep turn back to runway 17. During the turn, fire started coming out of the left side of the rudder pedals. The pilot stated he attempted to stomp out the fire near his left foot but was unable to extinguish the blaze. The cockpit filled up with smoke and limited visual sight of the runway. He touched down between 30 and 40 knots but could not see the runway at all. 

A witness reported that after touching down on the runway, the "tail started going back and forth." The airplane departed the left side of the paved surface of the runway and nosed over into the grass approximately two thirds of the way down. After it came to rest, the passengers and pilot evacuated before the airplane became completely engulfed in flames.

The wreckage was retained by the NTSB for further examination.



A small plane crashed at the Sumner County regional airport Friday afternoon, injuring the pilot and temporarily closing the airfield, an official said.

Mike McCartney, the owner of fixed based operator GTO Aviation, said the small plane bounced on runway 17/35 when it landed, "nosed over" and flipped upside down at 2:17 p.m.

Sheriff Sonny Weatherford identified the pilot as 73-year-old Gregory Harms of Smithville, Tenn. He was flying with his two grandsons, ages 10 and 13.

“(Harms) said he was in his takeoff and smoke filled the cockpit, so he turned around and came back,” Weatherford said. “He was not able to see the runway and then hit and bounced over into the grass.”

McCartney said Harms sustained a head injury. Weatherford said Harms was taken to Sumner Regional Medical Center, but refused treatment. No other injuries were reported.

The FAA confirmed the aircraft Harms was flying was a Piper PA22.

Jim Johnson, who has two planes stationed at the airport, witnessed the crash from his hangar at the end of the runway close to the crash site.

“He looked to be doing at least 80 miles per hour and his right wing was coming up,” Johnson said. “I just saw him going really fast and then he kind of lost control right about where he went in. It just flipped up on its nose and (the people inside) got out immediately.”

“There was a small amount of smoke coming from the windshield area after it went in. Immediately I saw a little bit of smoke, not a lot, but a little bit. Then it was only a minute or so later that it caught fire and that was it.”

Elizabeth Burgess, an employee at Sky Burgers Diner, saw the aftermath of the crash from the restaurant, located near the airport’s terminal.

“You could see flames pretty much all around the plane,” she said. “It was kind of nose down with the tail in the air and black smoke.”

McCartney said he planned to reopen the runway after debris had been cleared from the area.

The FAA will investigate the crash but the National Transportation Safety Board has been charged with determining the cause, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said in an email.

Original article can be found here: http://www.tennessean.com


GALLATIN, Tenn. - Crews have responded to reports of a plane fire on the runway at Sumner County Regional Airport.

A statement from the Federal Aviation Administration said the plane crashed in a field and caught on fire after departing from Runway 17/35.

First responders were called out to the airport on 1475 Airport Road in Gallatin just before 2:30 p.m. Friday.

Officials confirmed three people were on the plane, including the pilot, identified as Gregory Harms, and his two grandchildren.

The two children, whose identities were not released, were taken to Sumner Regional Hospital. Authorities said they were both okay. Harms was not injured.

Officials said the plane was a 1963 model Piper PA22 Tri-pacer.

Aerial video from Sky5 showed the plane was destroyed. 

Investigators from the Gallatin Police Department responded to the scene. The Sumner County Sheriff's Office as well as the the FAA and NTSB will be investigating and determine the cause of the accident. 

The airport runway was closed until the scene could be cleared.

Story and video:  http://www.newschannel5.com













Crews on scene said a pilot in Gallatin had to make a hard landing just after taking off and seeing smoke.

The pilot, Gregory Harms, took off about 2:32 p.m. Friday from the Sumner County airport with two passengers, his grandchildren, ages 10 and 13, on board.

Crews said Harms saw the smoke coming from the plane, a 1963 Piper Tri-Pacer, and had to make a hard landing. Everyone was able to make it out okay, but Harms did suffer minor burns. The 10 and 13 year olds were both taken to the hospital to get checked out as a precautionary measure.

The fire was put out by Gallatin Fire.

Gallatin Fire said crew are on scene of a plane crash at Sumner County Regional Airport.

The plane, carrying at least three passengers, went down about 2:32 p.m. Friday, fire crews said. There are no reported injuries.

Police said everyone on board was able to make it out before the plane caught fire, it's since been put out.

Preliminary details suggest the plane apparently crashed just after taking off.

The FAA is investigating.

"A small aircraft crashed and caught on fire while landing on Runway 17/35 at the Summer County Regional Airport, Gallatin, TN today at 2:32 CDT. Please contact local authorities for passenger information. The FAA will investigate and the NTSB will determine the cause of the accident. The statement will be updated as more information becomes available."

Story and video:  http://fox17.com


GALLATIN, TN (WSMV) - Emergency crews are on the scene after a small plane crashed and caught fire in Gallatin.

Gallatin police said it happened at the Sumner County Regional Airport on Friday afternoon.

The pilot had just taken off when he saw smoke and immediately turned around to land. He reportedly couldn't see the runway because of all the smoke in the plane and landed hard.

Police said everyone on board the plane made it out before it went up in flames.

The pilot has been identified as Gregory Harms of Smithville. His two grandchildren, ages 10 and 13, were also on the plane.

Harms' grandchildren were taken to the hospital as a precaution, but are expected to be OK. Harms suffered minor burns in the crash.

Harms said he could not comment until the FAA arrived, but said he felt lucky to be alive.

Police and deputies are investigating the cause of the crash. The FAA is also on the way to the scene.

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