Sunday, October 22, 2017

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six, N43576: Fatal accident occurred April 25, 2016 near Boone Inc Airport (NC14), Watauga County, North Carolina

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

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA169
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 25, 2016 in Boone, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/15/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA32, registration: N43576
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

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.

The private pilot and two passengers were conducting a local flight from the pilot's home airport. One witness stated that his attention was drawn to the airplane due to its "very fast" landing approach. The airplane then disappeared from his view; shortly thereafter, he saw a plume of smoke in the area of a golf course on the northwest side of the airport. Several witnesses on the golf course stated that the airplane appeared to be taking off, and noted that it was "struggling," that it was "too low," and was "bobbing up and down." The airplane impacted a stand of 75-ft-tall pine trees and came to rest on the golf course, where it was consumed by a post-crash fire. The rear seat passenger was fatally injured; the pilot and front seat passenger received serious injuries. Neither the pilot nor the passenger could recall the events of the accident flight.

Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The landing runway measured 2,700 ft long by 40 ft wide. Given the witness observation of the airplane's fast approach speed, it is likely that the pilot initiated a go-around due to excessive airspeed and/or a lack of runway remaining on which to stop; however, it could not be determined when the pilot began the go-around maneuver. The airplane's low altitude as it climbed away from the runway suggests that the pilot may have initiated the go-around near touchdown or possibly even after touching down. Had the pilot started the go-around earlier, after recognizing the airplane's unstabilized approach due to excessive airspeed, he would have allowed more time to re-configure the airplane, establish a positive rate of climb, and clear the trees near the end of the runway. However, the late go-around placed the airplane in close proximity to the trees, from which the pilot subsequently failed to maintain lateral clearance.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's delayed decision to conduct a go-around following an unstabilized landing approach and his subsequent failure to maintain clearance from trees near the end of the runway.

Retired Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Chappell.

Steven Cox Berry, right, died May 29, 2016, due to injuries sustained in the April 25, 2016 plane crash on the Boone Golf Course. Berry is the second fatality registered in the plane crash that also took the life of former State Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Chappell of Boone.



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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper; McKinney, Texas

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N43576




NTSB Identification: ERA16FA169
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 25, 2016 in Boone, NC
Aircraft: PIPER PA32, registration: N43576
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

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 April 25, 2016, about 1300 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300, N43576, was destroyed after a collision with trees and terrain while conducting a go-around at Boone Inc. Airport (NC14), Boone, North Carolina. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were seriously injured. The rear seat passenger was fatally injured. The airplane was privately owned, and the personal flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated from NC14 about 1255.

According to a witness at the approach end of runway 31, his attention was drawn to the airplane because it was "very fast" as it approached the airport for landing. The airplane disappeared from his view and shortly after, he saw a plume of smoke on the adjacent golf course. Another witness, who was in a house on a hill on the right side of the departure end of runway 31, stated that the airplane was climbing out and the left wing was low when it collided with a pine tree. She said that the airplane seemed as if it was attempting to gain altitude but collided with another pine tree before impacting the golf course. Witnesses on the golf course reported that they watched the airplane climb and stated that it was "bobbling" up and down before hitting the top of a stand of pine trees. The airplane nosed down and impacted the golf course; a postimpact fire ensued. The witnesses on the golf course saw two occupants exit the airplane and assisted them before the local authorities arrived. Neither the pilot or the surviving passenger could recall the events of the accident flight.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 68, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate issued July 2, 2015, with a limitation for corrective lenses. On the pilot's application for that medical certificate, he reported 604 total hours of flight experience. The pilot could not recall his flight experience and his logbook was not recovered; therefore, his total flight experience at the time of the accident and his experience in the accident airplane make and model could not be determined.

The pilot-rated passenger, age 44, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for single-engine land and instrument airplane. He also held a private pilot certificate with ratings for multi-engine land, and an FAA second-class medical certificate with no noted limitations. On the pilot-rated passenger's most recent application for a FAA medical certificate, he reported a total flight experience of 2,600 hours. The pilot-rated passenger succumbed to his injuries 34 days after the accident, and his logbook was not recovered; therefore, his total flight experience at the time of the accident could not be determined.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-engine airplane was manufactured in 1974 and was powered by a Lycoming IO-540-K1A5 engine equipped with a Hartzell HC-C2YK-1, controllable-pitch propeller. A review of maintenance logbook records showed an annual inspection was completed on June 16, 2015, at a recorded airframe total time of 7,718.5 hours and an engine total time of 4,073 hours. Further review of the airplane records revealed that the engine was overhauled on August 27, 1992. The last maintenance was performed on January 31, 2016, at which time the engine had accumulated about 2,255 hours since overhaul.

The airplane was owned by the pilot and based at NC14.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1255, the recorded weather at Watauga County Hospital Heliport (TNB), Boone, North Carolina, about 1 mile north of the accident site, included wind from 330° at 4 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, scattered clouds at 6,000 ft above ground level, temperature 21°C, dew point 6°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.11 inches of mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The airport's runway was oriented on 13°/31° and measured 2,700 ft in length and 40 ft in width. The runway surface was asphalt and there were 25 ft trees about 150 ft from the runway 31 departure end.




WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane initially impacted a stand of 75-ft-tall pine trees. Parts of the left wing and freshly cut branches were observed throughout the stand of pine trees. A wreckage path extended from the trees, continued on a magnetic heading about 310° and extended about 126 ft to the main wreckage, which came to rest on a golf course. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, the rudder and vertical stabilizer, and the left and right stabilators. The outboard section of the left wing was fragmented along the wreckage path. The right wing was located with the main fuselage and it was consumed by fire. A post-impact fire consumed the cockpit, cabin, and baggage area. The instrument panel and avionics were destroyed by fire. No useful information was obtained from the instrumentation or avionics equipment. The engine control levers were not attached to the quadrant and were impact and fire damaged.

Both control yokes were impact separated, broken and fire damaged. The T-bar with aileron sprocket and chain were examined. The aileron and stabilator cables were attached. The rudder pedals were pushed forward against the forward bulkhead. The firewall was severely impact damaged. The engine mount was attached to the firewall, and the engine was attached to the mount. The nose landing gear was attached to the mount. The nose gear steering rods were bent and impact separated from the steering horn.

The flap control handle and bracket were attached to the fuselage floor and exhibited a flaps-retracted position. The flap operating torque tube was attached to its location in the fuselage and was also in the retracted position. The fuel selector valve was located and the selector valve arm was positioned in the right tip tank detent position. The fuel selector displayed impact and fire damage and the internal fuel filter was melted. All switches and circuit breakers were impact and fire damaged.

Examination of the empennage revealed that the vertical fin with left and right stabilator sections was attached by the floor pan of the fuselage and impact and fire damaged. The rudder was attached to the vertical stabilizer at its hinge points. The rudder sector control cables were attached. Movement was noted going forward to the cabin area. The rudder trim position could not be determined. The stabilator control cables and trim control cables were attached and traced forward to the cabin area. Control cable continuity was traced forward to the flight control "T"-bar assembly. All cables exhibited postimpact fire damage.

The left wing was separated from the fuselage. Both fuel tanks were breached and destroyed. All lower wing skins were destroyed by ground fire. The flap was attached at the inboard end. The outboard section was impact and fire damaged. The aileron was destroyed. The aileron control sector was bent and twisted. Both aileron cables were attached. Cable continuity was traced to the control chains in the forward cabin area. The left main landing gear assembly was attached to the main wing spar and fire damaged. The stall warning vane was destroyed.

The right main landing gear was destroyed by postimpact fire. The right flap and aileron were destroyed by impact and fire. The primary and balance cables were attached. Control cable continuity was traced through all cable breaks from tension overload to the forward cabin area. Both cables were found attached to the aileron control chain.

The engine remained attached to the firewall by the upper engine mount tubes. The upper mount tubes were impact damaged and the lower tubes were separated.

The engine was removed, suspended from a lift, and partially disassembled to facilitate the examination. The propeller was removed and the engine was rotated using a tool inserted in the vacuum pump drive pad. Continuity of the crankshaft to the rear gears and to the valve train was confirmed. Compression and suction were confirmed at all six cylinders. The interiors of the cylinders were examined using a lighted borescope and no anomalies were noted.

The fuel injector servo was impact separated from the engine and was fire and impact damaged. The fuel inlet screen was removed; it was fire damaged and a small amount of debris was observed inside. The fuel regulator section was disassembled and the rubber diaphragms were fire damaged.

The flow divider remained attached to the engine. The unit was partially disassembled and no debris was observed in the interior. The engine-driven fuel pump remained attached to the engine and was fire damaged. Both magnetos remained attached to the engine and were heavily fire damaged. The upper spark plugs exhibited light gray coloration and undamaged electrodes. The lower spark plugs were a combination of Champion REM38E and REM40E. The lower spark plugs exhibited undamaged electrodes. The Nos. 3, 5 and 6 spark plug electrodes exhibited gray coloration.

The Nos. 1, 2 and 4 electrodes were oil contaminated. The ignition harness was destroyed by fire. The starter and alternator remained attached to the engine and were impact damaged. The vacuum pump remained attached to the engine and was fire damaged. The drive coupling was partially melted and the pump could not be rotated by hand. The pump was partially disassembled and the carbon rotor and vanes were intact.

Oil was observed in the engine. The oil dipstick indicated about 9 quarts. The engine oil filter media was charred. No debris was observed between the folds of the filter media. The oil coolers remained attached to the engine cooling baffles. The left oil cooler was fire and impact damaged. The right oil cooler was undamaged. The oil cooler hoses were destroyed by fire.



ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook, Chapter 8, "Approaches and Landings," states, "To land within a short-field or a confined area, the pilot must have precise, positive control of the rate of descent and airspeed to produce an approach that clears any obstacles, result in little or no floating during the round out, and permit the airplane to be stopped in the shortest possible distance."

The handbook defines a stabilized approach as one that "permits the airplane to reach the desired touchdown point at an airspeed that results in minimum floating just before touchdown; in essence, a semi-stalled condition. To accomplish this, it is essential that both the descent angle and the airspeed be accurately controlled."

The handbook further describes the characteristics of a stabilized short field landing approach, stating:

[Short-field landing] procedures generally involve the use of full flaps and the final approach started from an altitude of at least 500 feet higher than the touchdown area.

An excessive amount of airspeed could result in touchdown too far down the runway threshold or an after-landing roll that exceeds the available landing area.

The handbook further states that go-arounds, or rejected landings, should be performed whenever landing conditions are not satisfactory. It also states,

The go-around maneuver is not inherently dangerous in itself. It becomes dangerous only when delayed unduly or executed improperly. Delay in initiating the go-around normally stems from two sources:

1. Landing expectancy or set – the anticipatory belief that conditions are not as threatening as they are and that the approach is surely terminated with a safe landing,

2. Pride – the mistaken belief that the act of going around is an admission of failure – failure to execute the approach properly. The improper execution of the go-around maneuver stems from a lack of familiarity with the three cardinal principles of the procedure: power, attitude, and configuration.



NTSB Identification: ERA16FA169
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 25, 2016 in Boone, NC
Aircraft: PIPER PA32, registration: N43576
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

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 April 25, 2016, about 1300 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300, N43576, was destroyed after a collision with trees, terrain and post-crash fire in Boone, North Carolina. The pilot and pilot-rated passenger were seriously injured. The rear seat passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. The airplane was originating at the time of the accident from Boone Inc. Airport (NC14), Boone, North Carolina.

According to a witness at the approach end of runway 31, he stated that the airplane was approaching at a high rate of speed prior to landing. He said that he did not see the airplane touchdown, but shortly after he saw a plume of smoke on a golf course. Another witness that was in a house on a hill on the right side of the departure end of runway 31, stated that when she saw the airplane, the left wing was low and it collided with a pine tree. She said that the airplane seemed as if it was attempting to gain altitude but collided with another pine tree before descending and "crashing into the golf course." Witnesses on the golf course reported that they watched the airplane climbout; they stated that the airplane was "bobbling" up and down before hitting the top of a stand of pine trees. The airplane nosed down and collided on the golf course before bursting into flames. The witnesses on the golf course observed the occupants exit the airplane and assisted them before the local authorities arrived.

Examination of the wreckage site revealed that the airplane initially impacted a stand of 75-foot-tall pine trees. Parts of the left wing and fresh cut branches were observed throughout the stand of pine trees. The airplane continued on the wreckage path until it came to rest on a golf course. The debris path was orientated on a magnetic heading of about 310 degrees and extended about 126 ft. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, the rudder and vertical stabilizer, the left and right horizontal elevator. The outboard section of the left wing was fragmented along the wreckage path. The right wing was located with the main fuselage and it was consumed by fire. A post-impact fire consumed the cockpit, cabin, and baggage area. The instrument panel and avionics were destroyed by fire. The airplane was retained for further examination.

At 1255, surface weather observation for NC14, about .50 miles northwest of the accident site, included wind from 330 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 statute miles. The temperature was 21 degrees Celsius (C), the dew point was 6 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.11 inches of mercury.

No comments: