Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Piper PA-28, N132AV, Vortex Aviation LLC: Accident occurred September 02, 2017 at Caledonia County Airport (KCDA), Lyndonville, Vermont

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine
Vermont Agency of Transportation; Burlington, Vermont

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

Vortex Aviation LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N132AV

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA312
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 02, 2017 in Lyndonville, VT
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N132AV
Injuries: 3 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 September 2, 2017, about 1810 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-181, N132AV, was substantially damaged during collision with terrain during takeoff from Caledonia County Airport (CDA), Lyndonville, Vermont. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

In a written statement, the pilot said he performed a preflight inspection of the airplane in front of the five passengers he intended to fly that day with no anomalies noted. He demonstrated the corresponding movements between the flight controls, and the flight-control surfaces; highlighting the corresponding movement between the ailerons and the control yoke.

The pilot said he then completed a 20-minute flight with two of the passengers and returned to CDA. There, a friend volunteered to fly the fifth passenger in his airplane while the pilot flew with the third and fourth passenger. The pilot cautioned his friend about the density altitude, and how his airplane "needed more time to build speed" during the takeoff roll.

After taxi, the pilot positioned the airplane on the runway for departure and performed a flight control deflection check. He said there was corresponding movement with the flight control surfaces, but that the resistance in the controls was light. His concern led him to perform the check 8 times, before he initiated the takeoff.

The pilot stated that after rotation, the airplane was unresponsive, or slow to respond, in the roll axis when he applied aileron corrections. He elected to close the throttle, and perform a forced landing to the grass area beyond the departure end of the runway. The landing resulted in substantial damage to the wings, cabin, empennage, and the tail section of the airplane.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. The pilot reported 310 total hours of flight experience, of which 305 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the airplane was manufactured in 1984 and had accrued approximately 4,287.8 total aircraft hours. Its most recent annual inspection was completed June 8, 2017.

At 1855, the weather recorded at CDA included clear skies and calm wind. The temperature was 18°C, and the dew point was 6°C. The altimeter setting was 30.19 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site by an FAA inspector and a Vermont Agency of Transportation operations manager, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The airplane came to rest upright about 700 ft beyond the departure end of runway 20, and about 250 ft left of the runway centerline.

Flight control continuity was established from the individual flight controls to all flight control surfaces, except for the left aileron. The aileron was significantly impact damaged, and its control rod was fractured. The corresponding fractured control-rod piece inside the wing was observed to move with control yoke inputs.


Each half of the fractured control rod was harvested from the wreckage and retained for further examination at the NTSB Materials Laboratory.

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