Saturday, March 17, 2018

Star Marianas Air, Piper PA-31-350, N4078J: Accident occurred August 30, 2017 at Saipan International Airport, Saipan Island, Mariana Islands

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Honolulu, Hawaii

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Saipan, MP
Accident Number: GAA17CA570
Date & Time: 08/30/2017, 1808 LCL
Registration: N4078J
Aircraft: PIPER PA 31
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Birdstrike
Injuries: 7 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Scheduled 

The pilot reported that during the initial climb, about 150 feet above the ground, while the landing gear was being retracted, the airplane impacted a flock of medium sized birds. He noted that the landing gear unlock indicator remained illuminated and the landing gear handle would not return to the up neutral position. No degradation of performance was noted, so the pilot choose to continue to his destination.

About 20 miles from the airport, the pilot attempted to lower the landing gear, but was unsuccessful. He contacted maintenance personnel on the ground and advised them of the landing gear issue. The ground maintenance personnel visually verified that the nose and right main landing gear were down. The pilot performed the emergency gear extension checklist and noted little to no resistance on the hand pump. After multiple attempts to lower the landing gear, Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Support was requested. Soon after, the pilot received clearance to land.

During the landing the right main landing gear collapsed and the left wing impacted the ground.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.

A postaccident examination revealed snarge on both horizonal stabilizers, left wing, and fuselage. It was noted that the right inboard main landing gear door actuator hose had failed. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 43, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/13/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/18/2017
Flight Time:   5847 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2005 hours (Total, this make and model), 5714 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 186 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 128 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N4078J
Model/Series: PA 31 350
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1980
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 31-8152057
Landing Gear Type:  Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 10
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/02/2017, Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 7368 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:  9341.1 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT:  C91A installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: TIO-540-J2BD
Registered Owner:  Marianas Transportation Management Solutions Inc
Rated Power: 350 hp
Operator: Star Marianas Air, Inc.
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commuter Air Carrier (135); On-demand Air Taxi (135) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PGSF, 10 ft msl
Observation Time: 0754 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 97°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4400 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 24°C
Lowest Ceiling:  Broken / 11000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots, 200°
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 29.79 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: ROTA ISLAND, MP (GRO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Saipan, MP (GSN)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1645 LCL
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 215 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 24
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 7001 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing:  Full Stop; Straight-in 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 5 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 7 None
Latitude, Longitude:  15.117778, 145.726111 (est)

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