Friday, February 23, 2018

Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance, C-GYGY: Fatal accident occurred February 22, 2018 in Monticello, San Juan County, Utah

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper Aircraft
Transportation Safety Board of Canada; Edmonton, AB

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location:  Monticello, UT
Accident Number: WPR18FA095
Date & Time: 02/22/2018, MST
Registration: C-GYGY
Aircraft: PIPER PA32R
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On February 22, 2018, at an unknown time, a Piper PA-32R-300 airplane, Canadian registry C-GYGY, was destroyed when it impacted terrain under unknown circumstances near Monticello, Utah. The private pilot/owner and the three passengers were fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Undetermined meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed for the flight.

The pilot and passengers were all Canadian citizens, and resided in Alberta Canada. According to the pilot's daughter, the pilot typically wintered with the airplane in the southern United States (US). On a return trip from the US to Alberta in the airplane in very early February, the pilot left the airplane at Cut Bank International Airport (CTB), Cut Bank, Montana in the US, reportedly because adverse weather prevented the aerial completion of the trip. The airplane remained hangered at CTB until February 21, when the pilot and passengers drove to CTB to begin the flight journey that would include the accident leg.

The passengers included the pilot's friend, the pilot's son, and a friend of the pilot's son. The pilot was the only licensed pilot on board, but his 28 year old son was reported to have at least some flight experience. According to the pilot's daughter, the son's experience, in combination with other passengers' lack of flight experience, likely resulted in the pilot's son occupying a cockpit seat for the trip.

The flight destination was Albuquerque New Mexico, for the purpose of enabling the pilot to examine an airplane for possible purchase. The pilot's daughter stated that as she understood it, the pilot planned to fly from CTB to Albuquerque in one day, and she was not aware of any planned stops. However, due to unspecified weather, the flight landed at Grand Junction Airport (GJT), Grand Junction, Colorado, and the group overnighted in Grand Junction. According to the fixed base operator (FBO) at GJT, the pilot had requested a fuel top-off on February 21, and the airplane was serviced with 17.6 gallons of fuel that same day. The pilot was not in attendance for the refueling. To date no other fueling records have been located.

According to GJT air traffic control tower information, on February 22, the airplane departed to the northeast at 0937 mountain standard time. To date, no further communications between the airplane and any air traffic control facilities have been located.

About 2200 on February 22, in response to a concerned party, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Alert Notice (ALNOT) stating that the airplane was overdue. About 0215 on February 23, the US Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) reported that an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal had been detected in the vicinity of La Sal Junction, Utah. Multiple ground and airborne searches were initiated during that day. At 1649 on February 23, previously unknown aircraft wreckage was located by a Civil Air Patrol search aircraft. Law enforcement personnel arrived at the scene soon thereafter, and the wreckage was confirmed to be that of the missing airplane.

The wreckage was located in a field about 10 miles southeast of Monticello, Utah. The debris field was oriented on a magnetic track of about 085°, and was about 550 feet long. The site elevation was approximately 6,800 ft above mean sea level (msl). An investigative team mapped the debris field and conducted an initial wreckage examination. Both wings had fracture-separated from the fuselage. All major components of the airplane, including all flight control surfaces, were identified at the scene. The landing gear damage was consistent with it being retracted at the time of impact. The engine had fracture-separated from the fuselage. No evidence of any pre-impact mechanical deficiencies that would have precluded continued flight were observed. No evidence of any pre-or post-impact fire was observed. The wreckage was recovered on February 27 for transport to, and subsequent detailed examination at, a secure facility.

The pilot held a Transport Canada (TC) private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. Flight time records indicated that as of February 9, 2018, the pilot had about 597 total hours of flight experience. His most recent TC Category 3 medical certificate was issued in February 2018.

TC information indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1976, and was equipped with a Lycoming IO-540 series engine. The most recent annual or 100-hour inspection was completed in September 2017. The pilot was in the process of selling the airplane, and an undated advertisement stated that the airplane had a total time (TT) since new of 2,744 hours. The propeller TT was listed as 32 hours, and the engine "time since overhaul" was cited as 682 hours. The advertisement noted that the airplane was equipped with an autopilot, and an engine monitor with recording capabilities. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: C-GYGY
Model/Series: PA32R 300
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:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:  None
Departure Point:  Grand Junction, CO (KGJT)
Destination: Albuquerque, NM

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  37.781667, -109.173333 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Clint Kaupp, Bill Kaupp, Tim Mueller, and Ron Mckenzie. 

Bill Kaupp and his wife of 43 years, Paula Kaupp.

Clint Kaupp, pictured with his niece Maggie. 

Ron McKenzie, pictured with his two granddaughters. 

Tim Mueller, pictured with his nephew Jack. 

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- UPDATE: Shortly after 5 p.m. Friday Civil Air Patrol confirmed to KKCO the plane was found, and there were no survivors.

UPDATE: Civil Air Patrol search and rescue teams are looking for the plane in the area of Dove Creek, near the Colorado, Utah border.

Crews are using a signal from the plane’s emergency beacon to triangulate its location, but rough canyon terrain and snow in the area are making it difficult, according to the Civil Air Patrol.

Original Story: A plane that left the Grand Junction Regional Airport on Thursday went missing from radar soon after takeoff.

Pilot Bill Kaupp of Alberta, Canada and three others were on the plane when it left GJT, according to his son Jon Kaupp, who spoke to KKCO over the phone.

According to a news release from the Civil Air Patrol, the single-engine Piper Lance was headed for Albuquerque, New Mexico. Aircrews searching for the plane were forced to turn back Friday because of snow, according to the mission incident commander in New Mexico, Lt. Col. Jon Hitchcock.

According to Civil Air Patrol, a ground team from Montrose was sent to the search area 130 miles southwest of Grand Junction.  The AFRCC at Tyndall AFB tasked CAP to assist in locating a missing Piper Lance that left Grand Junction, CO, headed for Albuquerque, NM, on Thursday. A CAP ground team has been dispatched from Montrose, CO, headed to the search area 130 mi southwest of Grand Junction.

Original article can be found here ➤

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