Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Piper J3L-65, N35226: Accident occurred January 13, 2018 at Astoria Regional Airport (KAST), Clatsop County, Oregon

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Oregon

Aviation Accident Final 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/N35226

Analysis 

According to the pilot, he was flying the tailwheel-equipped airplane from the rear seat. During the landing flare, with the control stick in an aft position, the control stick's rubber handgrip slipped off, allowing the stick to move forward. Before he could recover the stick, the airplane pitched down, and landed hard.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall, the forward lower fuselage and the longerons in the tail section. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The control stick handgrip separation from the control stick resulting in the airplane pitching forward, which resulted in hard landing.

Findings

Aircraft
Pitch control - Attain/maintain not possible (Cause)
Flight compartment equipment - Damaged/degraded (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown
Part(s) separation from AC (Defining event)

Hard landing

Location: Astoria, OR
Accident Number: GAA18CA108
Date & Time: 01/13/2018, 1530 PST
Registration: N35226
Aircraft: PIPER J3L
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Part(s) separation from AC
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

According to the pilot, he was flying the tailwheel-equipped airplane from the rear seat. During the landing flare, with the control stick in an aft position, the control stick's rubber handgrip slipped off, allowing the stick to move forward. Before he could recover the stick, the airplane pitched down, and landed hard.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall, the forward lower fuselage and the longerons in the tail section. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 84, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/31/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/30/2016
Flight Time: (Estimated) 1899 hours (Total, all aircraft), 25 hours (Total, this make and model), 1760 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N35226
Model/Series: J3L 65
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1944
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 6221
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/01/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1170 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: A-65-8
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 65 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KAST, 22 ft msl
Observation Time: 2255 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 269°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 14°C / 9°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots, 80°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.25 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Astoria, OR (OR23)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Astoria, OR (OR23)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1500 PST
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: KARPENS (OR23)
Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation: 125 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 10
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 1900 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 46.161389, -123.640278 (est)

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