FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Allentown FSDO-05
NTSB Identification: ERA16FA325
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 25, 2016 in Pittstown, NJ
Aircraft: MOONEY M20J, registration: N526AM
Injuries: 2 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 September 25, 2016, about 1230 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20J, N526AM, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain after an aborted landing at Sky Manor Airport (N40), Pittstown, New Jersey. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which departed Pennridge Airport (CKZ), Perkasie, Pennsylvania, about 1200.
The pilot rented the airplane at the Trenton-Robbinsville Airport (N87), Robbinsville, New Jersey. According to security camera video, he boarded the airplane alone and departed at 1121. The pilot then flew to CKZ, where he picked up the passenger, and then flew to N40.
Approximately 15 witnesses were interviewed, the majority of which were pilots that were at N40 on the day of the accident. Descriptions varied between witness statements as to the airplane's touchdown point on the runway; however, the preponderance of witness statements were that the pilot attempted twice to land on Runway 25.
During the first landing attempt, the airplane appeared to be about 20 knots too fast on the final approach leg of the traffic pattern, and bounced during the touchdown. The pilot then aborted the landing, climbed out and joined the traffic pattern.
During the second landing attempt, the airplane was again fast on the approach, and it touched down approximately halfway down the runway on the nose wheel, then the main landing gear, bounced, and became airborne. It then touched down and bounced twice more, then touched down approximately 400 to 500 feet prior to the end of the runway, this time staying on the runway surface. Engine power was then heard to increase as the airplane approached the end of the runway. The airplane began to climb, but some witnesses commented that it did not seem that the engine was producing full power. During this climb, as it passed over a field that was surrounded by trees at the end of the runway, the airplane appeared to climb slowly. Then as the airplane approached the row of trees at the far end of the field, the airplane appeared to climb steeply over the row of trees. The airplane then abruptly banked steeply to the left, pitched nose down, and descended in a steep, nose down attitude until it disappeared behind the trees.
According to a witness who lived in close proximity to where the accident occurred, the airplane was observed to be very low and slow compared to many of other airplanes that he observed departing from N40. The airplane was then observed to rise slightly, pivot nose down, and then rapidly lose altitude before it was lost from sight behind a barn. According to another witness, while this occurred, the engine was heard to be operating. According to both of the witnesses, moments later the sound of an impact was heard.
Examination of the accident site and airplane revealed the airplane impacted in a nose down attitude and then came to rest against the base of a tree. During the impact sequence, a small tree was struck and knocked down. Propeller strike marks were visible on several of the tree limbs. The leading edge of the right wing displayed crush and compression damage from the tip to approximately mid-span, with the majority of the sheet metal being crushed and accordioned back to the wing spar. The trailing edge of the right wing root also displayed compression damage. The outboard panel of the left wing displayed crush damage and was bent back about 30 degrees.
The engine was separated from its mounting position and was found on the ground forward of the left side of the fuselage. The empennage was almost completely separated from the aft fuselage. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were wrinkled and displayed impact damage at their outboard ends. The vertical stabilizer and rudder displayed impact damage and the rudder was partially separated from its mounting position. The landing gear was down, and the flaps were up. Both fuel caps were closed and locked, and though the fuel tanks were breached, evidence of fuel was present in the form of residual fuel in the bottom of the fuel tanks. The throttle, propeller, and mixture controls, were all in the full-forward position. The cowl flaps were closed.
Examination of the two-bladed propeller revealed that one propeller blade exhibited chordwise scratching. The other propeller blade also exhibited chordwise scratching, and S-bending. Further examination of the propeller blade revealed evidence of tip curling, with an associated area of surface polishing near the curl, consistent with a propeller strike.
Sky Manor Airport was located 2 miles southwest of Pittstown, New Jersey. It was uncontrolled and had one runway, in a 7/25 configuration. Runway 25 was asphalt, and in good condition. It was 2,900 feet-long and 50 feet-wide, and marked with non-precision markings in good condition.
Obstructions existed in the form of electrical transmission lines that crossed the approach path for Runway 25, approximately 99 feet above ground level, 2,070 feet from the beginning of the runway, 210 feet left of centerline. They were equipped with spherical high visibility markers, and took an 18:1 slope to clear.
An operational two-light precision approach path indicator (PAPI) was installed on the left side of the approach end of the runway, which displayed a 4.00-degree glide path to provide pilots with guidance information to help acquire and maintain the correct approach (in the vertical plane) to the runway. Examination of the runway revealed fresh propeller strike marks, 1,747 feet from the beginning of Runway 25, approximately 4 feet, 11 inches, to the right of the runway centerline. Review of video recordings obtained from a security camera at N40 revealed that the airplane during the first landing attempt, at approximately 1219, touched down more than halfway down the length of the runway. Then on the second landing attempt, at approximately 1229, the airplane again touched down more than halfway down the length of the runway. Further review of the video recordings also revealed that the wing flaps were extended during both landing attempts.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and pilot records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on February 10, 2016. He reported on that date, that he had accrued approximately 185 total flight hours.
According to FAA and airplane maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1980. The airplane's most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on August 13, 2016. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued approximately 4,690.3 total hours of operation. The engine had accrued approximately 100 hours of operation since major overhaul.
The wreckage was retained for further examination.
Born May 29, 1964 in Abington, she was the daughter of the late LeRoy C. and Janet (Holman) Forker.
Karen was a very talented artist. She was a stroke survivor who overcame her physical disabilities and completed her college education later in her life. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Philadelphia, graduating in 2006.
She went on to start a successful interior design business, Lowe Design, and was involved in many renovation projects for both businesses and private homes.
She is survived by three children, Davin L. Lowe, Richelle A. Lowe, and Adeline G. Lowe, all of Harleysville, and four siblings, Robert Forker (Linda) of Tennessee, Lynda J. Finkbeiner (Scott) of Souderton, Paul D. Forker of Souderton, and David R. Forker (Nadine) of Telford. Also surviving are several nieces and nephews.
She loved her three children dearly and was very proud of their accomplishments.
Karen was a born again Christian and was recently attending the Calvary Church of Souderton.
Above all else she will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
The family will receive friends starting at 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 1, at Huff & Lakjer Funeral Home, 701 Derstine Avenue, Lansdale, with the funeral beginning at 10:30 a.m. Interment will be held privately.
For those desiring, donations in Karen's name may be made to the American Diabetes Society, 150 Monument Rd., Suite 100, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, or Civil Air Patrol, 105 South Hansell St., Maxwell AFB, AL 36112.
ALEXANDRIA — Two people died in a plane crash in a grassy field near Sky Manor Airport Sunday afternoon, police said.
The Federal Aviation Administration identified the plane as a Mooney M20 that crashed in a residential neighborhood about half a mile southwest of the runway at the small municipal airport.
"At 12:29 p.m. Hunterdon County 911 Dispatch Center received a call of an aircraft down," Hunterdon County Chief of Detectives John Kuczynski said.
"The aircraft was apparently coming in for a landing and subsequently witnesses saw the aircraft go down," Kuczynski said.
Both the pilot and the passenger died at the scene of the crash, according to the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office. Neither victim was identified.
There was no damage to any property near Sky Manor and Oak Summit roads, where the plane was recovered, the prosecutor said.
The exact cause of the crash remains under investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA will investigate the crash, the prosecutor said.
Alexia Hughes, a Bucks County, Pa. resident, said she was part of a large crowd watching planes take off and land outside the Sky Cafe restaurant at the airport. They saw a small plane try to land and come in too fast.
"Instead of aborting the landing, he continued to try to land and ran out of runway," she said.
The plane then pulled up, barely clearing trees at the end of the runway, Hughes said. It tilted up and to the left before losing lift and crashing.
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP — Two people were killed Sunday afternoon when a small plane crashed in a residential neighborhood in Hunterdon County.
According to NJ State Police Trooper Alejandro Goez, the crash occurred just after noon near Sky Manor Airport. Police say a small aircraft crashed, killing two people aboard the plane.
“The aircraft crashed approximately one half mile southwest of the runway at Sky Manor Airport. The aircraft was recovered in a residential neighborhood at the intersection of Sky Manor Road and Oak Summit Road,” Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns III said.
The prosecutor said there was no damage reported to any residential property. The pilot and passenger were pronounced dead at the scene, he said.
According to the prosecutor, a 911 call was received by Hunterdon County Communications at about 12:29 p.m. The NJ State Police Crime Scene Unit and detectives from the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office responded to investigate the crash, police said.
The prosecutor said Sunday night that the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are conducting a crash investigation.
“Our condolences go out to the families of the victims. The names of the victims will be released pending the notification of the next of kin,” Kearns said. “I commend the quick response of our first responders and their continued service to our community.”