Saturday, August 20, 2016

Piper PA-28-181 Archer II, N47480: Accident occurred December 05, 2015 near Oakland County International Airport (KPTK), Pontiac, Michigan


http://registry.faa.gov/N32SA

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA055
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 05, 2015 in Pontiac, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/16/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-181, registration: N47480
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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 private certificated pilot and pilot-rated passenger planned on conducting some practice instrument approaches. After conducting a practice approach and landing at a different airport, they departed for the flight back to the departure airport. Night instrument meteorological conditions existed, and the pilot expected to conduct an instrument approach. The tower controller cleared the airplane for the instrument approach to the runway. The pilot reported that the airplane was set up and configured for the approach and that, initially, the airplane was established on the localizer and glideslope; however, it then drifted off course. The pilot-rated passenger reported that he was looking outside the airplane as they passed the final approach fix. When he looked back inside at the instruments, he told the pilot that he was low and left of course. Subsequently, the airplane impacted trees and terrain and then came to rest in an open field. The accident is consistent with controlled flight into terrain due to the pilot flying the airplane below the glideslope and off course during an instrument approach.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s operation of the airplane below the glideslope and off course during a night, instrument approach, which resulted in a collision with trees and terrain.

On December 5, 2015, about 1930 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-181 airplane, N47480, impacted terrain during an approach to runway 9R at the Oakland County International Airport (KPTK), Pontiac, Michigan. The private rated pilot and pilot rated passenger received minor injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by IXI LLC, West Bloomfield, Michigan, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. 

The pilot and pilot rated passenger planned on each taking a turn at practicing instrument approaches. The pilot had an instrument rating, while the pilot rated passenger, was working on obtaining the instrument rating. With the pilot rated passenger at the controls, they departed KPTK and performed a practice instrument approach at an en route airport. They continued the flight to the Abrams Municipal airport (4D0), where they conducted another practice approach and then landed. Once on the ground at 4D0, they swapped seating locations, with the pilot rated passenger sitting in the right seat, and the accident pilot in the left seat. They then departed 4D0 and returned to PTK. As they approached PTK, they pickup up an instrument flight plan and due to low visibility and ceiling, expected to perform an approach in actual instrument conditions into PTK. 

The pilot reported that the PTK tower controller cleared them for the instrument approach for runway 9R. He added that the airplane was properly setup and configured for the approach. Initially, the airplane was established on the localizer and glideslope, but then drifted off course. The pilot rated passenger reported that during the approach, he was concerned with ice on the wings and was looking outside as they passed the final approach fix. When he looked back at the instruments, he told the pilot that he was low and left of course. A moment later, the airplane impacted terrain.

A review of radar data revealed the airplane initially intercepted the extended centerline of 9R. The flight reached the final approach fix at 3,000 ft, continued inbound and descended in altitude; the track wondered slightly right of course a couple times before deviating left of course.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that the airplane's right wing had impacted trees short of the airport. The wreckage path continued for about 580 feet, before the airplane came to rest on its right side in an open field. The airplane's left and right wings had separated from the fuselage. The fuselage and engine had heavy impact damage as a result of the collision with the trees and terrain.

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