Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage, JA4060: Fatal accident occurred July 26, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan

Overloading, other factors suspected in 2015 fatal plane crash in Chofu: report

The 2015 fatal crash of a small airplane in a Tokyo suburban residential area was possibly attributable to multiple factors including overloading, a slow take-off and excessive nose-lifting, an investigative report by the Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) has revealed.

The crash of a single-engine propeller aircraft in the city of Chofu in July 2015 killed the pilot, another person aboard the plan and one resident, while injuring three others on board and two other residents. Because the pilot is dead, the JTSB could not find out what decisions he made prior to the crash, nor whether there was any trouble with the engine.

"Because the aircraft was not equipped with a flight data recorder and the pilot was killed, we couldn't clarify what maneuvering decisions he had made," said JTSB Chairman Kazuhiro Nakahashi, as the board unveiled the investigative report on July 18.

The plane -- a PA-46-350P model manufactured by Piper Aircraft Inc. of the United States -- took off from Chofu Airfield on July 26, 2015. Pilot Taishi Kawamura, 36, and Mitsuru Hayakawa, 36, who was also aboard the aircraft, died in the crash, while a 34-year-old resident of one of the houses hit by the plane, Nozomi Suzuki, also died.

The JTSB, affiliated with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, estimated that the aircraft's ability to take off and ascend had lowered as it was overloaded -- some 58 kilograms more than the maximum weight of 1,950 kilograms capable for take-off, considering the total weight of people aboard the plane and fuel.

Even if the aircraft was loaded with just the maximum weight, it would have needed to accelerate to some 144 kilometers per hour before take-off, but the plane actually took off at a speed of around 135 kilometers per hour.

Furthermore, the aircraft continued to maintain excessive nose-lifting, and its floating power declined due to air resistance after it reached an altitude of some 27 meters. The aircraft then started to descend while leaning to the left and maintaining the nose-lifting posture, before coming into contact with an antenna of a house and having its fuselage hit the roof of a second house. It then reportedly bounced and twisted its body to the right, and crashed into a fourth house with its body upside down. The fourth house burned down due to the crash, killing Suzuki. It was only 55 seconds after the plane started taxiing along the runway.

According to the JTSB, the aircraft's center of gravity lied in its rear part, making it apt to keep a nose-lifting posture. While the laws and regulations require the pilot to confirm the loaded weight and the center of gravity before take-off, it is possible Kawamura did not check them thoroughly.

The JTSB has advised the transport minister to step up guidance for private plane pilots to abide by the maximum loaded weight and confirm emergency response procedures, such as those in case of a lack of speed.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which manages the Chofu Airfield, will continue to ground private aircraft until the government's preventive measures are considered appropriate.

NTSB Identification: ANC15WA060
Accident occurred Sunday, July 26, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan
Aircraft: PIPER PA46 - 350P, registration:
Injuries: 3 Fatal, 5 Serious.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On July 26, 2015, at 0200 coordinated universal time, a Japanese registered Piper PA46-350P airplane, JA4060, operated by a private individual, impacted a residential area shortly after takeoff from Chofu Airfield, Tokyo, Japan. The pilot, one passenger, and one person on the ground sustained fatal injuries. Three passengers and two people on the ground sustained serious injuries. The airplane was destroyed.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Japan. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by or obtained by the Government of Japan. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Secretariat of the Aircraft and Railway Accidents Investigation Commission
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport

2-1-2, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku 
Tokyo 100-8918

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