Monday, April 17, 2017

Piper PA-28, N5046W: Accident occurred May 08, 2016 in Pomona, Los Angeles County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA103
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 08, 2016 in Pomona, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/20/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N5046W
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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.

The private pilot estimated that he departed on the 10-minute, 16-mile, local flight with one fuel tank about one-half full and the other tank about one-quarter full; he did not recall which tank he had the fuel selector positioned to during takeoff. During descent for landing, the pilot observed the engine rpm decrease to between 500 and 600 rpm, at which time he declared an emergency. The pilot switched fuel tanks but did not remember which tank he selected or whether the engine lost total power. The pilot made a forced landing on the roof of an industrial office building.

During examination of the airplane after it was recovered from the roof of the building, about 7.5 gallons of fuel was drained from the left wing, and about 1 quart of fuel was drained from the right wing; no visible contamination was observed. Additionally, the fuel selector was selected to the right tank position. Other than the absence of fuel in the right tank, examination of the airframe and engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal engine operation. Further, the lack of rotational damage to the propeller was consistent with a loss of engine power before impact. While atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident were conducive to carburetor ice, the physical evidence supports the position that total loss of engine power was due to fuel starvation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's mismanagement of the available fuel, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Los Angeles, California 
Piper Aircraft, Inc.; Vero Beach, Florida
Lycoming Engine; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

Aviation Accident Factual Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N5046W


Pilot Don Bach


NTSB Identification: WPR16FA103
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 08, 2016 in Pomona, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N5046W
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 May 8, 2016, about 1640 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-28, N5046W, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing on top of an office/industrial building complex in Pomona, California. The private pilot, who was the registered owner and sole occupant of the airplane, sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 16 nautical mile (nm) local flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed from the Fullerton Municipal Airport (FUL), Fullerton, California, about 1630, and the intended destination was Brackett Field (POC), La Verne, California.

In a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) about 6 weeks after the accident, the pilot reported that before departing on the 10-minute flight, he estimated that one fuel tank was about one-half full and the other fuel tank was about one-quarter full; he did not recall which tank contained what amount of fuel or which tank the fuel selector was positioned to use. The pilot stated that the pre-takeoff run up was "ok", and that the carburetor heat worked well. The pilot further stated that, after departing FUL, he climbed to 2,200 ft. mean sea level (msl), was cleared for a left downwind to runway 26L at POC, and contacted the POC tower over Diamond Bar, a small town just west of POC. He then descended to 2,000 ft. msl, and during the descent he observed the engine rpm decrease to between 500 and 600 rpm, at which time he radioed "MAYDAY, MAYDAY." The pilot stated that he then switched fuel tanks but was not sure which one he selected. He further stated that he was not sure if the engine had completely lost power or not. The pilot said that he was looking for a field to land in but could not find one. The pilot added that the only thing he saw was a rooftop, which he aimed for, and he subsequently "belly flopped" the airplane onto the roof of the building. The pilot concluded by saying that he did not remember when he had last refueled the airplane.

The building the airplane landed on was located about 2 nm southwest of the destination airport. An initial survey of the accident site was performed on the evening of May 8, 2016, by NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigators. The wreckage was located on the top of a building, which measured about 200 ft. in length, and about 100 ft. in width; the roof was about 30 ft. above ground level. The airplane came to rest nose down with the building's roof collapsed around the engine cowling to the top of the propeller spinner. The left main landing gear collapsed aft, and the left wheel separated and was found on the roof. The nose wheel separated and was found inside the building. Some blue staining was observed on the roof.

On the day after the accident, the wreckage was examined in more detail after it was lowered from the roof of the building. During the examination, investigators drained about 7.5 gallons of fluid from the left wing tank's fuel drain; it was a light blue fluid, which looked and smelled like aviation gasoline. There was no visible contamination. Additionally, investigators drained about 1 quart of fluid from the right wing tank's fuel drain; it was a light blue fluid, which looked and smelled like aviation gasoline. There was no visible contamination. Investigators also drained a few ounces of fluid from the carburetor; it was amber in color, and smelled like aviation gasoline. The gascolator was displaced from its position; the screen appeared clean. The fuel selector was observed positioned to the right fuel tank.

The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange, and the spinner remained attached to the propeller. One propeller blade was bent aft, and the other propeller blade did not appear to be bent. Neither blade displayed leading edge gouging or S-bending.

On June 14, 2016, a detailed examination of the engine and airframe, performed under the supervision of the NTSB IIC, revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the engine. For details of the examination, refer to the Summary of Airplane Examination report, which is available in the public docket for this accident.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 61, possessed an FAA private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The pilot reported to the NTSB that he had a total flight time of 900 hours of which 300 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. He also reported that he had accumulated a total of 5 hours flight time in the last 90 days and 2 hours in the last 30 days, all in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

The pilot completed his most recent flight review on February 27, 2016. He was issued a third-class FAA airman medical certificate on December 4, 2015, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a Piper PA-28, serial number 28-48. It was a single-engine, low-wing airplane with a fixed tricycle landing gear.

Examination of the airplane's airframe logbook indicated that the airplane's last two annual inspections revealed several discrepancies, and the airplane was not signed off as airworthy. The annual inspection performed on October 4, 2014, at a tachometer time of 1,249.97 hours and 4,098.97 hours total time, revealed the following discrepancies: needs an engine data plate (missing); needs Right side exhaust shroud for carb heat replace; needs compass correction card entries legible/replaced. The most recent annual inspection, which was performed on November 1, 2015, at a tachometer time of 1,261.0 hours and 4,110.27 hours, revealed the following discrepancies: needs an engine data plate (missing); needs Right side exhaust shroud for carb heat replaced; needs engine front crankshaft seal replaced; left wing fuel sump drain weeping.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1547, the weather reporting facility at POC reported: wind from 260° at 8 knots, 10 miles visibility, overcast ceiling at 3,100 ft. above ground level, temperature 17° C, dew point 10° C, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches of mercury. According to the carburetor icing probability chart, conditions were conducive to moderate icing at cruise power, and serious icing at descent power. The carburetor icing probability chart included in Federal Aviation Administration Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin No. CE-09-35, Carburetor Icing Prevention, indicated that the airplane was operating in an area that was associated with moderate icing at cruise power, and serious icing at descent power.
















NTSB Identification: WPR16FA103
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 08, 2016 in Pomona, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N5046W
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 May 8, 2016, about 1630 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-28, N5046W, sustained substantial damage after making a forced landing on top of an office/industrial building complex, about 2 nautical miles southwest of Brackett Field (POC), La Verne, California. The private pilot, who was the registered owner and sole occupant of the airplane, sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed from the Fullerton Municipal Airport (FUL), Fullerton, California, about 1600.

According to local law enforcement personnel, the pilot reported that while approaching POC at an altitude of about 2,000 feet, the engine experienced an initial power loss to about 1,000 rpm. The pilot stated that the mixture was in and that he had switched fuel tanks, however, he could not restore power to the engine. The pilot further stated that when he realized he would not be able to make it to his destination, he elected to make a forced landing. The pilot reported that rather than land in a residential area, he opted to land on the roof of a corporate building. After touching down, the airplane came to an abrupt stop upright and on the top of the building, with the engine partially imbedded into the roof.

The airplane was recovered to a secured storage facility for further examination.

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