Sunday, February 4, 2018

Piper PA-23-250 Aztec E, N40285, registered to Lakelizard Aviation Training Company LLC and operated as an instructional flight: Accident occurred December 19, 2017 near Knoxville Downtown Island Airport (KDKX), Tennessee

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

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Knoxville, Tennessee

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Knoxville, TN
Accident Number: ANC18LA016
Date & Time: 12/19/2017, 1500 EST
Registration: N40285
Aircraft: PIPER PA 23-250
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On December 19, 2017, about 1500 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-23-250 multi-engine retractable gear airplane, N40285, sustained substantial damage during an impact with trees while attempting to return to Knoxville Downtown Island Airport (KDKX), Knoxville, Tennessee following a complete loss of engine power on the left engine during an attempted go-around. The airplane was registered to Lakelizard Aviation Training Company, LLC and operated as an instructional flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 and visual flight rules when the accident occurred. The certified multi-engine flight instructor (MEI), and certified flight instructor (CFI) observing from the back sustained minor injuries, the multi-engine rated pilot receiving instruction sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

According to the MEI providing instruction, the purpose of the flight was to practice maneuvers for the student's upcoming commercial multi-engine check ride. After completing a series of maneuvers, they returned to execute the Localizer approach to runway 26 at KDKX. He stated that he simulated an engine failure outside the final approach fix by retarding the left engine's manifold pressure to 12 inches. After completing the approach to the missed approach point, they circled for landing on runway 26, but were too high on the approach. In an effort to correct for the high approach, the student retarded the right engine to idle, selected full flaps, and began a rapid descent. The runway threshold was crossed about 500 ft above ground level (AGL) and the MEI called for a go-around. The student applied full power to the right engine, and attempted to fly the pattern with a simulated engine failure. Shortly after initiating the go-around while making the left crosswind turn the student said he had lost the left engine. The MEI stated that he observed that the left prop was stationary and said, "I have the controls". He checked to ensure the throttles, props and mixtures were full forward and attempted to retract the flaps, but was unable due to the one hydraulic pump being operated by the left engine, and elected not to use the hand pump. He stated, that in his judgement the best option was to attempt to restart the left engine. Unable to reach the controls to restart the engine from the left seat he asked the student to restart the engine, while he concentrated on flying the airplane. He stated that lowering the nose to increase airspeed to Vyse with gear and flaps deployed and the left propeller unfeathered would have resulted in a rapid loss of altitude, so he elected to hold the airspeed at Vmc (80 mph) while banking slightly into the right engine and avoiding terrain. Unable to restart the left engine, he attempted to maneuver the airplane for a landing on runway 8 at KDKX but was unable to complete the required 180° turn and flew through the extended centerline and towards rising terrain. Approaching a residential area, the MEI maneuvered the airplane to avoid a house and impacted trees. The trees stopped the forward movement of the airplane and it fell to the ground, coming to rest on top of an automobile. After the accident, the MEI returned to the airplane to shut off the fuel and electrics when he noticed the left fuel selector was in between the on and off position.

According to the multi-engine rated pilot receiving instruction after the engine failure the MEI stated, "I got the controls" and attempted to restart the engine while flying away from KDKX. He stated that he became very concerned as the airspeed degraded to Vmc, and called the MEI's attention to the airspeed multiple times, and each time he reacted by lowering the nose of the airplane. He said that at some point he told the MEI the flaps were down, and the MEI moved the flap selector to the up position. In addition, he remembered the back-seat observer stating that the landing gear was down at which point the MEI selected the landing gear to the up position.

According to the CFI observing from the back seat, they were on a downwind leg to runway 26 at KDKX with a simulated engine failure. While turning base to final they realized the airplane was too high to land and attempted a two-engine go-around. Shortly thereafter, prior to the crosswind leg, the left engine lost all power. He stated that the airplane was maneuvered in an effort to avoid terrain and return for right traffic runway 8 at KDKX, but while attempting to turn right base to final the airplane continued to the left. He said the airspeed was too slow, right on the edge of 80 mph, and they lowered the nose in an effort to avoid a stall and a Vmc roll. While attempting to enter a left base for runway 8 at KDXX they were too low and on the edge of a stall when he heard them hollering "Were going to stall lower the nose" and he braced for impact.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, FAA Flight Training Handbook AC 61-21A, Engine Failure on Takeoff, states in part: "When the decision is made to continue flight, the single-engine best-rate of climb speed should be attained and maintained. Even if altitude cannot be maintained, it is best to continue to hold that speed because it would result in the slowest rate of descent and provide for the most time for executing the emergency landing."

The Aztec E Pilot's operating Manual, Emergency Procedures, Engine Failure During Takeoff, states in part:

"If no landing can be made directly after the failure, the following steps should be followed:

a. Apply full power to good engine.

b. Feather dead engine.

c. Retract landing gear and flaps, if extended (using hand pump if left engine is out). If enough altitude has been reached for reaching the airport with the gear extended, leave the landing gear in the down position.

d. Maintain a best rate of climb airspeed."

The closest weather reporting facility was Knoxville Downtown Island Airport (KDKX), Knoxville, Tennessee. At 1553, an METAR from KDKX was reporting, in part: wind from 240 °at 7 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; clouds and sky condition, broken clouds at 7,000 ft, broken clouds at 12,000 ft, overcast clouds at 25,000 ft; temperature, 59 °F; dew point 48° F; altimeter, 30.08 inches of mercury.

A detailed wreckage examination is pending. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N40285
Model/Series: PA 23-250 250
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: KDKX
Observation Time: 2053 UTC
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:  15°C / 9°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots, 240°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 7000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Knoxville, TN (DKX)
Destination: Knoxville, TN (DKX)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 35.968333, -83.900000 (est)

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