Saturday, July 8, 2017

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee, N6653J: Accident occurred July 07, 2017 near Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport (KGVL), Gainesville, Hall County, Georgia

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA278
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 07, 2017 in Gainsville, GA
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N6653J
Injuries: 1 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 July 7, 2017, about 1551 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180, N6653J, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in a field about 5 nautical miles southeast of Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport (GVL), Gainesville, Georgia. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The airplane was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the flight that was destined for GVL, and originated about 1330 from Hilliard Airpark (01J), Hilliard, Florida.

The pilot stated that about 1545, or when the flight was about 10 miles from GVL, he made a radio call to the airport and gave his location and intentions. He then started the checklist, and when he moved the mixture control, the handle felt like it was caught on something. He pushed harder on the mixture control to move to rich, and then began troubleshooting by moving the mixture control to the point where it had "hung up" to see if it would occur again. At that moment, he heard a "pop" sound followed by engine rpm decrease to idle. He attempted to do a quick check of the quadrant by breaking the sides to get access, but reported the problem was not in the quadrant. By that time, the flight was 7 miles from GVL. He made a mayday call reporting his location, and then executed a right 180° turn and began looking for a place to land, eventually landing in a field.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector who examined the airplane at the accident site the following day, he could not access the cockpit because the cabin entry door was locked. The left fuel tank had about 1/2 capacity, but he could not tell if any fuel remained in the right fuel tank. The airplane was recovered by the pilot. He also indicated that the pilot said the fuel selector was on the left tank position when the engine lost power.

The pilot, who is an airframe and powerplant mechanic with inspection authorization, reported that when he inspected the engine compartment the following day, he found the mixture control cable separated from the mixture control lever at the carburetor.

A pilot suffered only minor injuries in a plane crash Friday afternoon near Athens Highway in Hall County, a fire services official said.

The plane was headed to Gainesville from Jacksonville, Florida when it went down near Sugar Hill Elementary School around 3:55 p.m., according to Hall County Fire Services Captain Zachary Brackett.

"Initial units arrived and found one occupant of the plane who had some superficial injuries to his face but otherwise was healthy and walking around."

Brackett said the man was checked out on scene and refused to be taken to the hospital.

The plane sustained minor damage, according to Brackett.  

Photos from the scene show what appeared to be a small, single-engine aircraft with its main wing oriented below the fuselage.

"The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified and is working with authorities from the Gainesville (Lee Gilmer Memorial) Airport to arrange retrieval of the plane," Brackett said.

Officials don't believe the man's flight was related to the annual Cracker Fly-In scheduled for Saturday at the Gainesville airport.

A plane from Jacksonville force landed in Hall County, Ga. on Friday afternoon.

Federal Aviation Administration records indicate the plane, N6653J, is registered to a Jacksonville, Florida, address. It is a Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee.

FOX5 in Atlanta reports that the plane was flying from Jacksonville to Gainesville, Georgia, and the pilot has minor injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating what caused the crash.

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