Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Piper PA-28-180, N9427J, Latitude Aviation LLC: Accident occurred July 04, 2017 near Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (SIG), San Juan, Puerto Rico

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Juan, Puerto Rico

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Latitude Aviation LLC:

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA227
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, July 04, 2017 in San Juan, PR
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N9427J
Injuries: 4 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 4, 2017, at 1721 Atlantic daylight time, a Piper PA28-180, N9427J, operated by Horizon Aviation, was substantially damaged when it impacted the San Antonio Canal shortly after takeoff from Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (SIG), San Juan, Puerto Rico. The private pilot and three passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to fly to a designated practice area, and return. Prior to the flight, the airplane was fueled. The pilot also calculated the weight and balance, performed a preflight inspection of the airplane and an engine run-up, with no issues noted.

During the takeoff roll on runway 9, the engine instruments were "in the green" and the engine developed full power. During the initial climb at an altitude of about 250 ft above ground level, the engine started to run rough and lose power. The engine did not respond to throttle inputs. The pilot informed the air traffic control tower that he intended to return and land on runway 27. As the airplane flew toward a marina, the pilot recalled seeing people on the ground and wanted to avoid them. He did not recall the remainder of the accident sequence.

A witness located at the marina recorded a portion of the flight on a video camera. A review of the recording revealed that about 20 seconds before impact, the airplane was flying relatively level in an easterly direction, for about 5 seconds, before being obscured by a water drop on the camera lens. About 7 seconds later, the airplane was visible again and on a southerly heading, toward the camera, in a left descending turn. The airplane's bank angle increased to about 90° left wing down, before it impacted the canal.

Initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) inspector revealed that left wing was separated from the fuselage at the root, the right wing was partially separated at the root. The empennage was crushed in several locations, the left stabilator was partially separated and bent upward about 90° at its root.

The throttle and mixture controls were found in the full-forward position, the carburetor heat control was in the off position. The fuel selector handle was in the right tank position, the electric fuel pump switch was in the "on" position. Both fuel caps were secure with their seals intact.

Review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed that the most recent 100-hour inspection was performed on March 25, 2017, about 90 hours prior to the accident. Additionally, the most recent annual inspection was completed on July 19, 2016, about 193 hours prior to the accident. The engine had accrued a total of 4,233 hours since new, and 937 hours since overhaul.

An on-board video recording was recovered and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

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