Friday, May 13, 2016

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

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:

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:

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:

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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