Thursday, March 01, 2018

Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II, N323MQ, registered to and operated by Walla Walla University: Accident occurred February 28, 2018 in Milton-Freewater, Umatilla County, Oregon

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

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Milton-Freewater, OR
Accident Number: GAA18CA145
Date & Time: 02/28/2018, 0830 PST
Registration: N323MQ
Aircraft: PIPER PA28R
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 


The flight instructor reported that after conducting flight maneuvers during an instructional flight, he and the student proceeded to sightsee around mountainous terrain at 800 to 1000 ft above ground level. He added that, after the pilot receiving instruction maneuvered around rising terrain, the airplane was moving toward "fairly significant" terrain. The flight instructor reported that "it was assumed" that the airplane had the necessary performance to out climb the rising terrain ahead, but he soon realized that the airplane was in a "box canyon" and would not be able to climb above the rising terrain. The flight instructor took the flight controls, "pitched the aircraft up to stall speed", and the airplane impacted trees.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing.

The flight instructor reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot receiving instruction's and flight instructor's improper decision to enter a canyon surrounded by steep rising terrain and their subsequent failure to maintain clearance from terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude.


Altitude - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Decision making/judgment - Student pilot (Cause)
Decision making/judgment - Instructor/check pilot (Cause)
Aircraft control - Instructor/check pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Mountainous/hilly terrain - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight


Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT) (Defining event)

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 24, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/24/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/20/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 726 hours (Total, all aircraft), 174 hours (Total, this make and model), 645 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 84 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 54 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 21, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/23/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/07/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 380 hours (Total, all aircraft), 103 hours (Total, this make and model), 297 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 42 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 22 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N323MQ
Model/Series: PA28R 200
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1974
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28R-7435038
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/26/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2650 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 9760.61 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-C1C
Rated Power: 200 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KALW, 1205 ft msl
Observation Time: 1653 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 327°
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / -2°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 5000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots, 190°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.95 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: WALLA WALLA, WA (ALW)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: WALLA WALLA, WA (ALW)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 0730 PST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  45.926944, -118.130833 (est)

UMATILLA COUNTY, Oregon — A new All-Terrain Vehicle equipped with snow tracks, had a big first day with the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, responding to two calls for service on February 28.

Because it can travel through deep snow and has a large payload, it can also be used to assist in search and rescue missions or to carry injured or lost persons to safety. It was for that very reason that it was deployed on Wednesday, after a 911 call was received that indicated that there was an aircraft that crashed in the Blue Mountains east of Milton-Freewater. Emergency Manager Tom Roberts picked up the ATV and drove to the scene, and members of Search and Rescue found the Walla Walla University aviation student and his instructor, who had been piloting the small plane, in the Government Camp area. They were cold and wet, and fortunately, uninjured.

Before crews were able to return from the plane crash incident, they were called to assist the Umatilla Tribal Police Department to search for possibly suicidal man who was on foot in the snow in Poverty Flats area outside Pendleton. Searchers found the man and drove him to safety in the ATV.

“Within the first few hours of having this type of vehicle, we’ve already demonstrated its value to the Sheriff’s Office”, said Jim Littlefield, Umatilla County Undersheriff. “While the vehicle’s primary mission will be for snow patrol use, it also has the capacity to be used in many other situations and can help us save lives.”

“The potential for the use of this type of equipment in emergency response is huge, and Umatilla County has had a need for units like this before”, said Tom Roberts, Umatilla County Emergency Manager. “In 2012, a tracked ATV was deployed from Walla Walla County, to I‐84 near Deadman Pass for a tour bus that crashed and rolled down a ravine with 44 individuals onboard. For incidents like that and others, it will be nice to have this capability at UCSO.”

The ATV was purchased with grant funds provided to the Sheriff’s Office from their partnership with the Oregon State Snowmobile Association.

Original article can be found here ➤

A plane flown by a student pilot and instructor crashed in the Blue Mountains just outside the Umatilla National Forest on Wednesday.

Both walked away uninjured. Their Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II had substantial damage, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The plane flew into a canyon and then was unable to climb out, according to the FAA.

It crashed near Government Mountain Road about 13 miles east of Milton-Freewater, according to the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office.

Original article can be found here ➤

A Walla Walla University aviation student and instructor were in an airplane that went down in the Oregon Blue Mountains Wednesday shortly after 9 a.m., according to University and Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office officials

The Sheriff’s Office learned that a Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II had gone down in the area of Government Mountain Road about 13 miles east of Milton-Freewater.

Umatilla County deputies and members of the Search and Rescue Team responded to the area in an attempt to locate the plane’s occupants. They found instructor Jordan Collins and student Josh Spengler uninjured and walking away from the crash site.

It is unknown what caused the plane to go down. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Walla Walla University officials have not released further details.

Original article can be found here ➤

WALLA WALLA, Wash.-- A single-engine plane owned by Walla Walla University crashed this morning in the Blue Mountains near Tollgate, Oregon.

The university said an aviation student and a flight instructor were flying a Piper Arrow plane when it went down.

They both walked away unharmed.

University officials said they are now working with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate the incident.

The names of the student and instructor have not yet been released.

Original article can be found here ➤

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