Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six, N555PK: Fatal accident occurred July 14, 2015 in Brazoria, Texas

Robert A. Mena, ATP, CFII, MEI



David Michael Leining Sr. 



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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas
Piper Aircraft, Inc.; Vero Beach, Florida
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Hartzell Propeller, Inc.; Piqua, Ohio

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

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

David M. Leining, Sr: http://registry.faa.gov/N555PK




NTSB Identification: CEN15FA305 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, July 14, 2015 in Brazoria, TX
Aircraft: PIPER PA 32-300, registration: N555PK
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 14, 2015, about 1004 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300 airplane, N555PK, impacted terrain near Brazoria, Texas. Day visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight instructor and student pilot were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight was being operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight, and no flight plan had been filed. Day visual meteorological conditions existed near the accident site about the time of the accident. The local flight originated from Pearland Regional Airport (LVJ), Pearland, Texas, about 0910.

Witnesses reported that the flight instructor and student pilot arrived at the airport about 0800. A fuel receipt from the LVJ fixed-base operator showed that the student pilot purchased 59.7 gallons of 100 low lead aviation gasoline that morning. Witnesses also reported seeing the flight instructor and student getting a weather briefing. Airport security cameras captured them walking towards the airplane at 0847, and the airplane taxiing north towards the active runway at 0902.

A review of radar data from the Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center showed that the airplane first appeared on radar about 0915 near LVJ. At 1001:48, radar data showed the airplane flying on a southwesterly heading at 2,300 ft. It then entered a gradual descent, which continued until 1003:45, at which point the airplane had descended to 1,900 ft. At 1004:09, the airplane entered a left descending turn from 1,300 ft. At 1004:21, the airplane was at 1,100 ft. The last radar target was recorded at 1004:33 when the airplane was at 600 ft. By this time, the airplane had turned about 270°.

There were no known witnesses to the accident. A motorist driving on a remote road in the San Bernard Wildlife Refuge saw the wreckage and called 9-1-1 about 1130.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Flight instructor

The flight instructor held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single-engine and multiengine land ratings, a Beech 300 type rating, and commercial privileges with a rotorcraft-helicopter rating. He held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine, multiengine, and instrument ratings. He also held an experimental aircraft repairman certificate. His second-class medical certificate, dated March 6, 2015, contained the restriction: "Must wear corrective lenses." When the instructor filed his application for this medical certificate, he estimated that his total flight time was 4,658 hours, 113 hours of which were accrued in the previous 6 months.

Student pilot

The student pilot held a student pilot certificate and a third-class medical certificate, dated December 8, 2014, with the following limitations: "Must have available glasses for near vision. Not valid for any class after December 31, 2014."

The student pilot's logbook contained entries from August 7, 2013, through April 21, 2015. According to the logbook, he had only flown with instructor once for 2 hours.. The logbook indicated that the student pilot had 94.9 hours of total time in single-engine airplanes, 2.2 hours of which were as pilot-in-command (solo). He had received 92.7 hours of dual instruction, and 2.6 hours of simulated instrument training.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The fixed-landing gear airplane, serial number 32-7940100, was manufactured in 1979. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-540-K1G5 engine, rated at 300 horsepower at 2700 rpm. It was equipped with a Hartzell three-bladed, all-metal, constant-speed propeller (serial number B4981U).

According to maintenance records, the last annual inspection of the airframe was completed on September 10, 2014, at an airframe time of 5,393.8 hours. The engine was overhauled on October 12, 2000, at 3,975.55 total hours, and had accrued an additional 1,500.8 hours since the overhaul. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 5,4821.9 total hours

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest official weather reporting station was at Texas Gulf Coast Regional Airport (LBX), Angleton/Lake Jackson, Texas, located 14 miles north-northeast of the accident location. At 0953, the LBX Automated Surface Observation System reported wind from 190° at 12 knots, visibility, 10 miles, few clouds at 2,800 feet, temperature 31° C., dew point, 22° C., and altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of mercury.





WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site revealed evidence of a tree strike. The fuselage was aligned on a magnetic heading of 225°. There was a significant fuel spill at the scene, but there was no post-impact fire. A sample of the fuel was examined, and no evidence of fuel contamination was found. The wreckage was fragmented along the ground for about 110 feet and the outer portion of the left wing was completely separated near the initial impact scar. The forward cabin roof, from the instrument panel aft to the forward side window, was sheared and bent upwards about 90°. The windshield and all the windows were destroyed. The forward cabin door remained attached to its hinges and was lying across the left wing. The aft cabin and cargo door remained attached to the fuselage. The forward baggage compartment door was destroyed. The emergency locator transmitter switch was in the "off" position.

The engine compartment and forward cockpit area were impact damaged and partially separated from the main cabin area and the fuselage, which was in a nose-down position. The engine remained attached to the firewall, and the propeller remained attached to the engine. The nose landing gear had separated from the firewall. The firewall was crushed against the instrument panel which was crushed upwards. All instrumentation and circuit breakers were destroyed. Both control shafts, control wheels, and rudder pedals were destroyed. Flight control continuity was partially established. The engine power controls were in the "full forward" position. The flap control was in the "up" position. The fuel selector was positioned to the right main tank. The electric (auxiliary) fuel boost pump switch was on.

The vertical stabilizer remained attached to the empennage but was impact damaged, consistent with a tree strike. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. The left wing was separated from the fuselage, but the right wing remained attached. All three propeller blades were bent aft about 40°, consistent with low rotation at impact. The spinner was crushed around the propeller hub. Partial disassembly of the engine revealed no discrepancies or anomalies that would have precluded power from being developed.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 57-year-old male CFI had reported hay fever, high blood pressure, LASIK eye surgery, and a history of a kidney stone to the FAA. His reported medications included losartan and amlodipine, both blood pressure medications that are not considered impairing. According to the autopsy performed by the County of Galveston Medical Examiner's Office, the cause of death was blunt force injuries and the manner of death was accident. Toxicology testing performed by the FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory identified amlodipine, losartan, doxylamine (0.116 ug/ml), and phentermine (0.343 ug/ml) in cardiac blood. All of these and naproxen, desmethylsildenafil, and oxymetazoline were found in urine. Amlodipine, losartan, naproxen, desmethylsildenafil, and oxymetazoline are not considered impairing. Doxylamine is a potentially impairing antihistamine that is so sedating its primary use is as a sleep aid. Phentermine is an amphetamine-class drug that is considered potentially impairing and is medically indicated for the short-term treatment of obesity.

The 63-year-old male student pilot had reported hypertension and type 2 diabetes to the FAA. He reported his medications as valsartan (a blood pressure medication not considered impairing), a combination of sitagliptin and metformin (marketed with the name Janumet) indicated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and simvastatin (a cholesterol lowering medication not considered impairing). While Janumet is not considered directly impairing by itself, it may cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) which is impairing. According to the autopsy performed by the County of Galveston Medical Examiner's Office, the cause of death was blunt force injuries and the manner of death was accident. Toxicology testing performed by the FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory identified sitagliptin, valsartan, and vardenafil in blood and urine. Vardenafil is an oral medication used to treat erectile dysfunction, which carries a warning about the potential for temporary changes in color vision but no warnings about performance impairment following use.

David Leining was standing in the path of the 2005 blast but survived. 


David Leining, shown in 2005, suffered two broken ankles in the BP explosion that killed 15 co-workers in Texas City. Leining and another man were killed in a plane crash on July 14, 2015.

Man who survived BP explosion dies in plane crash

BP explosion


NTSB Identification: CEN15FA305
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, July 14, 2015 in Brazoria, TX
Aircraft: PIPER PA 32-300, registration: N555PK
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 July 14, 2015, about 1004 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300 single-engine airplane, N555PK, impacted terrain near Brazoria, Texas. The flight instructor and the student pilot were killed, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed. The airplane departed Pearland Regional Airport (LVJ), Pearland, Texas, about 0910 and was destined to return to LVJ.

No witnesses to the accident have yet been found. A motorist driving on a remote unpaved road in the national wildlife refuge saw the wreckage and called 9-1-1 emergency about 1130. Postaccident radar forensics show the airplane first appeared on radar about 0915 near LVJ and radar contact was lost at 1004. Evidence at the scene showed the airplane was moving to the northwest when it impacted terrain. The wreckage was fragmented along the ground for about 110 feet and the outer portion of the left wing was completely separated near the initial impact scar. The engine compartment and forward cockpit area were impact damaged and partially separated from the main cabin area and the fuselage, which came to rest in a nose down attitude. There was a significant fuel spill at the scene, but there was no postimpact fire.

The remaining on-board fuel was examined and no evidence of fuel contamination was found. At the LVJ facility where the airplane had most recently been refueled, refueling unit records and a review of security camera video showed that the airplane had been refueled with aviation gasoline and postaccident fuel quality checks of that fuel facility were satisfactory.

The wreckage was moved to a different location and will be further examined. A handheld GPS device and several avionics components containing non-volatile memory (NVM), including engine performance data, were removed from the wreckage for examination and an extraction of useful data is possible.

The closest official weather reporting station was at Texas Gulf Coast Regional Airport (KLBX), Angleton/Lake Jackson, Texas, located 14 miles north-northeast from the accident location. At 0953 the Automated Surface Observation System at KLBX reported wind from 190 degrees at 12 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear of clouds, temperature 31 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 22 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of Mercury.

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