Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Piper PA-28-161, registered to Red Baron Rentals LLC, N84175: Accident occurred August 25, 2017 at Palatka Municipal Airport - Lt. Kay Larkin Field (28J), Putnam County, Florida

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida 

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

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


Location: Palatka, FL
Accident Number: ERA17CA295
Date & Time: 08/25/2017, 1030 EDT
Registration: N84175
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-161
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fire/smoke (non-impact)
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

The flight instructor, student pilot, and pilot rated passenger flew on a short cross-country instructional flight to practice stop-and-go landings. On the first landing, after touch down, the student pilot reduced the engine power to idle and the engine lost total power. The airplane stopped on the runway and the student pilot initiated an engine start and noted that the electric fuel pump was still on from landing and the mixture control was full forward. He tried to start the engine while he "pumped" the throttle, but it did not start. He stated he thought the engine was flooded so he turned off the electric fuel pump and pulled the mixture control to the off position. Again, he unsuccessfully tried to restart the engine. He then pushed the mixture control back to the full forward position and tried to start the engine while pumping the throttle a couple more times, but the engine did not start. The student pilot then saw smoke coming out of the engine cowling and notified the flight instructor and passenger.

The flight instructor performed the "engine fire on start checklist," told everyone to egress, and went to the cargo door to get the fire extinguisher while the passenger opened the engine cowling. When the flight instructor looked at the fire extinguisher, she noticed it was empty. The flight instructor and passenger noted that the fire was at the bottom of the engine around the carburetor and gaining in intensity. The passenger left, located a fire extinguisher at the airport's fixed base operator, and when he returned, the engine compartment was fully engulfed by fire. Subsequently, the fire was extinguished by the portable extinguishers and the local fire department.

Examination of the airplane revealed that the engine compartment, engine mounts, and firewall was substantially damaged by fire. The flight instructor reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 24, Female
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/31/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/13/2017
Flight Time:  522 hours (Total, all aircraft), 49 hours (Total, this make and model), 361 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 94 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 67 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 21, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/16/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:   64 hours (Total, all aircraft), 64 hours (Total, this make and model), 11 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 64 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 56 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N84175
Model/Series: PA 28-161 161
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1981
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 288116274
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/25/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2325 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 6928.9 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320-D3G
Rated Power: 160 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSGJ, 10 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 26 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1056 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 45°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 100°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.98 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 24°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: St Augustine, FL (SGJ)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Palatka, FL (28J)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 0830 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 47 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 09
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6000 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing:  Stop and Go

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude:  29.658056, -81.689444 (est)

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