Sunday, February 4, 2018

Piper PA-28-180, N6433J, registered to and operated by a private individual: Fatal accident occurred December 17, 2017 near Branson West Airport (KFWB), Stone County, Missouri

Keith and Dawn Curtis

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Kansas City, Missouri
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida
Lycoming aircraft engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Reeds Spring, MO
Accident Number: CEN18FA054
Date & Time: 12/17/2017, 1830 CST
Registration: N6433J
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-180
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 17, 2017, about 1830 central standard time, a Piper PA-28-180 airplane, N6433J, impacted terrain near Reeds Spring, Missouri. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal fight. Instrument meteorological conditions existed near the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The cross-country flight departed the Gardner Municipal Airport (K34), Gardner, Kansas, about 1700, and was en route to the M Graham Clark Downtown Airport (KPLK), Branson, Missouri.

Several witnesses reporting hearing the airplane overhead or circling before the engine went quiet, followed by a crash. First responders were notified and responded to the accident site. Both the witnesses and first responders reported the weather was foggy with poor visibility, about the time of the accident.

The airplane wreckage was located in an open field in a rural neighborhood, about 1.5 miles north of the Branson West Municipal Airport - Emerson Field (KFWB) and about 11 miles northwest of KPLK.

The on-site examination of the wreckage and ground scars revealed the airplane impacted terrain in a near vertical, nose down attitude. The airplane came to rest near the initial impact point, with the engine and nose of the airplane buried in a small crater. Several fragments of the airplane were scattered away from the impact point. Both wings were accordion crushed along the entire wing span; the main cabin was severely crushed, and the empennage also had heavy impact damage. The engine also had heavy impact damage with the crankshaft broken just aft of the No. 1 main journal, which had separated from the engine. The fixed pitch two-bladed propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange.

A preliminary review of radar data revealed, a visual flight rules (VFR) flight track correlated with time and location of accident airplane. A review of the flight track indicates that the airplane approached the Branson area from the north/northwest, making several turns, including circles, before the track disappeared from radar, near the accident site.

At 1835, the automated weather observation facility located at KFWB recorded: a calm wind, 0.5-mile visibility, 400 ft overcast ceiling, a temperature of 46 degrees F, dew point 46 degrees F, and an altimeter setting of 30.08 inches of mercury.

After the initial on-site documentation of the wreckage, the airplane was recovered for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N6433J
Model/Series: PA 28-180 180
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFWB
Observation Time: 1835 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 8°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 400 ft agl
Visibility:  0.5 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Departure Point: Gardner, KS (K34)
Destination: Branson, MO (KPLK)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  36.724722, -93.396111 (est)

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