FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Albuquerque FSDO-01
NTSB Identification: CEN16LA375
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, September 19, 2016 in Grants, NM
Aircraft: PIPER PA 32R-300, registration: N4477F
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 September 19, 2016, about 1700 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA 32R-300 airplane, N4477F, impacted a tree and terrain during a forced landing near Grants, New Mexico. A ground fire subsequently occurred. The pilot and two passengers were uninjured. The airplane was destroyed during the impact and ground fire. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which did not operate on a flight plan. The flight was originating from the Grants-Milan Municipal Airport (GNT), near Grants, New Mexico, at the time of the accident and was destined for the Cedar City Regional Airport, near Cedar City, Utah.
According to preliminary information, the pilot performed a pre-flight inspection. He taxied to run-up area for runway 31 and conducted the before takeoff checklist. He taxied the airplane to the beginning of the runway and set the throttle to full power. The roll-out and acceleration was considered to be normal. He lifted off approximately 5,000 feet down the runway at 80 knots. Approximately 100 feet above ground level and about two 2 seconds after lift-off, he heard a "gurgle" and the airplane lost engine power. The pilot verified that the fuel pump on and the throttle was in its full position. He turned the airplane about 20 degrees to the left and determined the airplane would not be able to return to the airport at its altitude at the time. The pilot located a landing site and he landed the airplane in between two trees. During the landing roll, the airplane turned to the left and headed for a tree. He was unable to correct the heading with applied right rudder, the airplane impacted a tree, and the airplane caught on fire. The pilot and passengers exited airplane and ran away from fire.
N4477F was a 1976 model Piper PA-32R-301 airplane with serial number 32R-7680449. The airplane was a low-wing, all-metal, single-engine, six-place monoplane. It had a retractable tricycle landing gear configuration, and was powered by a fuel injected, six-cylinder, Lycoming IO-540 engine, which drove a Hartzell variable-pitch propeller.
At 1655, the recorded weather at GNT was: Wind calm; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 30 degrees C; dew point -13; altimeter 30.28 inches of mercury.
CIBOLA COUNTY – Late afternoon on Monday, a 1976 Piper PA-32R-300 single engine plane suddenly came down shortly after take off from the Grants/Milan Airport behind the federal prison (CCA or Four Cs) in Milan in Milan causing it to catch fire which caused a small grass fire.
According to officials, pilot and owner of the plane, Michael Clark, and two passengers were flying to Utah and needed to stop in Grants for fuel and food. “Upon take off,” Sheriff Tony Mace said, “the plane would not gain altitude and the engine was sputtering.”
While Clark was attempting to land the plane in a field, it appears the plane’s wing clipped a tree causing it to spin sideways and eventually catching fire, Mace said.
The plane and everything in it eventually burned, which also caused the grass under and a small area around the plane to burn, including a few shrubs.
Emergency personnel were able to immediately assist the three persons and the plane and stop the small fire.
Amazingly, Clark and his two passengers were able to walk away from the crash site with no injuries.
According to Mace, on Tuesday the FAA was in the area to investigate the crash.
Clark is from Texas and his passengers were from Oklahoma.