Friday, July 8, 2016

Piper PA-32R-300, N32KK: Fatal accident occurred July 08, 2016 near West Houston Airport (KIWS), Harris County, Texas 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Houston FSDO-09

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA261
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 08, 2016 in Houston, TX
Aircraft: PIPER PA 32R-300, registration: N32KK
Injuries: 4 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 July 8, 2016, about 1615 central daylight time, a Piper model PA-32R-300 single-engine airplane, N32KK, was destroyed during a postimpact fire following a loss of control shortly after takeoff from the West Houston Airport (IWS), Houston, Texas. The private pilot and his three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed for the personal cross-country flight that had an intended destination of Gillespie County Airport (T82), Fredericksburg, Texas.

There were numerous witnesses who reported observing the accident airplane while on takeoff from runway 15 (3,953 feet by 75 feet, asphalt). Several of the witnesses observed an open forward baggage compartment door shortly before the airplane rotated for liftoff. These witnesses reported that the forward baggage compartment door was in a vertical position. The airplane continued with the takeoff and climbed on runway heading to 100-150 feet above ground level (agl) before it entered a left crosswind turn. One witness estimated that the left crosswind turn began as the airplane crossed over the runway departure threshold. Several witnesses reported that the airplane maintained a bank angle of 30-45 degrees during the left crosswind turn. The airplane was observed to briefly roll into a wings level attitude, on a downwind heading, before it entered an aerodynamic stall/spin to the left and descended nose first into terrain. The witnesses did not report hearing any engine anomalies during the accident flight.

The accident site was located in a wooded residential area located about 1/2 mile east-northeast of the airport terminal building/ramp. The initial point-of-impact was identified as an approximately 60-foot tall pine tree that was fractured about 6-1/2 feet above the ground. A 100 foot wreckage debris path initiated from the pine tree on a 330-degree true heading. There were numerous broken pine tree branches located along the wreckage debris path. The main wreckage was located about 42 feet from the initial point-of-impact and was found upright on a 180-degree heading. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage (aft of the cockpit), both wings, and the empennage. A majority of the main wreckage had been destroyed by the postimpact fire. Flight control continuity could not be established due to impact and fire damage; however, all observed separations were consistent with overstress. The mechanical flap control lever was found in the fully retracted position. All three landing gear actuators were fully extended, consistent with an extended landing gear. The fuel selector was found positioned to the right fuel tank. The cockpit, forward baggage compartment, engine, and the propeller were located about 58 feet past the main wreckage. The cockpit instrument panel was destroyed by fire. The landing gear selector switch was found in the "gear-down" position. The ignition switch was found in the "both" position. The forward baggage compartment exhibited impact and fire damage. The forward baggage compartment door was found about 15 feet from the baggage compartment. The door latch mechanism was observed unlatched and its corresponding key-lock assembly unlocked. A functional test of the latch mechanism did not reveal any anomalies. The forward baggage door frame latch catch/receptacle appeared to be undamaged. There were no observed anomalies with the forward baggage door latch mechanism, key-lock, or the door frame latch catch/receptacle.

The engine remained attached to the firewall and the propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange. The two-blade propeller exhibited torsional twisting, trailing edge S-shaped bending, and burnishing of the blade face and back. Internal engine and valve train continuity was confirmed as the engine crankshaft was rotated. Compression and suction were noted on all cylinders in conjunction with crankshaft rotation. The single-drive dual-magneto did not provide a spark when rotated; however, the magneto was damaged consistent with prolonged exposure to fire. The upper spark plugs were removed and exhibited features consistent with normal engine operation. A borescope inspection of each cylinder did not reveal any anomalies. The fuel injection servo remained attached to the engine. There were no obstructions to the fuel injection servo or induction system. The servo fuel inlet screen was free of any contamination. No anomalies were observed with the mechanical fuel pump, fuel flow divider, or fuel injectors. The oil pump discharged oil in conjunction with crankshaft rotation. The oil suction screen was free of any contamination. The postaccident examination revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal engine operation.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot, age 41, held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land airplane and instrument airplane ratings. His last aviation medical examination was completed on April 14, 2016, when he was issued a second-class medical certificate with no limitations. The pilot reported having 1,350 hours total flight experience when he applied for his current aviation medical certificate. A search of FAA records showed no previous accidents, incidents, or enforcement proceedings. According to an insurance application, dated March 28, 2016, the pilot had logged 1,350 hours total flight time and 60 hours in a Piper PA-32R-300. The pilot also reported his last flight review, as required by FAA regulation 61.56, was completed on April 5, 2015. The pilot's recent flight history was reconstructed from airplane utilization records provided by the co-owners of the accident airplane. The pilot's first recorded flight in the accident airplane was completed on February 19, 2015. The pilot had accumulated 72.1 hours in the accident airplane. He had flown the accident airplane 41.8 hours during the previous 12 months, 15.0 hours during the past 6 months, and 7.5 hours during the previous 90 days. There was no record of the pilot flying the accident airplane during the 30 days before the flight.

The accident airplane was a 1976 Piper model PA-32R-300, serial number 32R-7680117. A 300-horsepower Lycoming model IO-540-K1A5D reciprocating engine, serial number L-14027-48A, powered the airplane through a constant-speed, two blade, Hartzell model HC-C2YK-1BF propeller, serial number CH35537B. The airplane had a retractable tricycle landing gear, was configured to seat five individuals, and had a certified maximum gross weight of 3,600 pounds. The airplane had a useful load of 1,376.75 pounds, according to the current weight-and-balance record dated November 30, 2012. The airplane was exported to Japan after being manufactured in January 1976. The airplane was subsequently imported back into the United States and issued an FAA airworthiness certificate on April 3, 1995. The current owners-of-record purchased and registered the airplane on April 30, 2015. The last annual inspection was completed on June 27, 2016, at 4,508.4 hours total airframe and engine time. The recording tachometer indicated 3,124.4 hours at the last annual inspection and 3,125.5 hours at the accident site. The airplane had accumulated 1.1 hours since the annual inspection. At the time of the accident, the airframe and engine had accumulated 4,509.5 since new. The engine had accumulated 465.5 hours since its last field overhaul, which was completed on August 9, 2012. The propeller had accumulated 561.5 hours since its last field overhaul, which was completed on February 7, 2012. A postaccident review of the maintenance records found no history of unresolved airworthiness issues. The airplane had two fuel tanks, one located in each wing, and a total fuel capacity of 98 gallons (94 gallons usable). A review of fueling records established that the airplane fuel tanks were topped-off before the accident flight.

The nearest aviation weather reporting station was located at Houston Executive Airport (TME), Houston, Texas, about 12 miles west of the accident site. At 1615, the TME automated surface observing system reported the following weather conditions: wind 190 degrees true at 11 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 6,000 feet above ground level (agl), temperature 35 degrees Celsius, dew point 23 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting 30.00 inches of mercury.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

HOUSTON - The Harris County Sheriff's Office is investigating a plane crash in west Harris County on Friday. The accident happened just after 4 p.m.

A small plane took off from West Houston Airport at 18000 Groschke Road and crashed in the woods nearby, according to officials. The plane caught fire in the woods a quarter-mile east of the runway. The plane was destroyed by fire after impact.

All four passengers died when the single-engine Piper PA-32 went down, officials said.

Gustavo Trevino recorded cell phone video seconds after the deadly crash.

Trevino works near West Houston Airport and saw the plane go down just after take off.

"The plane was taking off and I knew something was wrong," Trevino said.

He ran to the scene to look for people on board because he wanted to help.

"I tried to go in. I couldn't do anything," Trevino said. "The flames were too intense. Just too intense."

The plane crashed just a few feet from Sherry and George Turner's home.

They hear planes taking off and landing every day, but they knew something was wrong with this one.

"That didn't sound normal. As soon as I got outside, I saw the smoke and the heat signature from the fire," George said.

Investigators say they will use dental records and finger prints to identify them.

They haven't even confirmed the plane's tail number because it's so badly damage.

"The plane is completely destroyed and burned," DPS officer Stephen Woodard said. "Right now this is a terrible time for this community because this is a flight community. A lot of folks in this community own planes and they're pilots as well. So it's a trying time."

It is unclear what caused the plane to crash at this time.

"Right now, everything is being preserved. The aircraft engine and all the instruments are in place waiting for the experts to come in and do the proper investigation," Woodard said.

Story and video:

HOUSTON (KTRK) --  A small plane crashed into a grassy area near West Houston Airport, killing four people, according to Westlake EMS. The aircraft is completely destroyed.

The fiery crash was reported at about 4:15pm. The wreckage was discovered amid some trees not far from the airport, and very close to some homes. Officials say the plane experienced some type of engine failure shortly after takeoff and fell from the sky.

Multiple agencies were called to the scene, including the Harris County Sheriff's Office and the Westlake EMS. The FAA is investigating.

Story and video:

Houston (KPRC) —Four people have died in a small plane crash Friday near Houston, reports KPRC-TV.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office is investigating the crash. The accident happened just after 4 p.m.

A small plane took off from West Houston Airport and crashed in the woods nearby, according to officials.

The plane caught fire in the woods a quarter-mile east of the runway. The plane was destroyed by fire after impact.

All four passengers died when the single-engine Piper PA-32 went down, officials said.

Original article can be found here:

1 comment:

gretnabear said...

'From the eyewitness reports it appears that the forward baggage door opened just after liftoff.Pilot may have gotten the plane too slow while trying to turn back.Possibly a stall-spin accident.' comment in