Saturday, June 23, 2018

Piper PA-28-140, N43078: Accident occurred June 14, 2015 near Near Hampton Airfield (7B3), Hampton, New Hampshire

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hampton, NH
Accident Number: ERA15LA237
Date & Time: 06/14/2015, 0930 EDT
Registration: N43078
Aircraft: PIPER PA28
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Aerodynamic stall/spin
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 14, 2015, about 0930 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N43078, impacted trees and terrain shortly after takeoff from Hampton Airfield (7B3), Hampton, New Hampshire. The private pilot and one passenger received serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged by impact forces and a postcrash fire. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Biddeford Airport (B19), Biddeford, Maine. The airplane was owned and operated by the private pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight.

According to the pilot, on the morning of the accident he had fueled the airplane at B19, and performed a "full run-up and normal takeoff" for the flight to 7B3. The takeoff, all systems, and flight characteristics appeared normal. After landing at 7B3, he taxied to the ramp and shut the airplane down. He did not refuel at 7B3, and a short time later he and his passenger embarked and taxied to runway 02, where he performed another engine run-up, with no anomalies noted. He indicated that the takeoff, and all systems including the airspeed, appeared normal. He said that the airplane lifted off at 65 knots, but it would not climb. He asked the passenger to read the emergency checklist, and verified that the mixture was rich, the throttle was full, the fuel selector was on the fullest tank, the fuel pump was on, and the carburetor heat was off. He attempted to keep the airplane level; however, he raised the nose at the last minute as they approached a tree line. The airplane cleared the initial tree line; however, subsequently descended into the wooded area.

According to a witness, as the airplane lifted off from the runway, it appeared to have a "high angle of attack," and it looked as though it was "mushing through the air" after takeoff. During the initial climb the pitch attitude decreased briefly, and then increased before the airplane reached a tree line. After clearing the trees, the nose lowered and the airplane disappeared out of sight. The witness further stated that he did not hear a loss of engine power at any time. Another witness stated that when the airplane lifted off the ground, its "nose was too vertical." The witness thought the airplane would not climb above the trees in the nose-up position; however, it cleared the tree tops and was "nearly vertical" when it began to lose altitude.

Review of airport surveillance video also revealed that the airplane lifted off and remained in a nose-up attitude.

Examination of the wreckage, at the scene, by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the airplane impacted a wooded area about 2,000 feet from the departure end of the runway and slightly right of the extended runway centerline. The fuselage came to rest upright in a nose down attitude with the engine and nose section embedded in soil. Both wings were separated from the fuselage.

A postaccident examination of the airplane and engine was conducted by an FAA inspector and representative from the engine manufacturer. One propeller blade exhibited chordwise scratching and leading-edge gouging. When the engine crankshaft was rotated by hand, continuity was confirmed on all cylinders, valves, and accessory gears. Thumb compression and suction was verified on each cylinder. The spark plugs were removed and examined; each displayed little or no wear and were light gray/black/oily in color. The carburetor bowl was removed and was found to be free of debris.

Control cable continuity was established from each aileron though fractures, consistent with tensile overload, to the cockpit area. The stabilator and rudder were removed during salvage recovery efforts, and the flight control cables were cut by recovery personnel. However, cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit area to the rudder and stabilator.

Examination of the stabilator trim indicator in the cockpit revealed that the trim was in the full nose up position. Examination of the stabilator trim jackscrew revealed 16 exposed threads, which equated to a full nose-up position. Review of a takeoff checklist from a make and model pilot operating manual revealed "Trim tab – set."

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/03/2013
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/24/2014
Flight Time:  182 hours (Total, all aircraft), 182 hours (Total, this make and model), 129 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N43078
Model/Series: PA28 140
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1974
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28-7425332
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/01/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2150 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 2 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4520 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320-D3G
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 160 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPSM, 100 ft msl
Observation Time: 0958 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 4°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 14000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 9°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 25000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots, 60°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hampton, NH (7B3)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Biddeford, ME (B19)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0930 EDT
Type of Airspace: 

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 93 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 02
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2100 ft / 170 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 42.968333, -70.828333 (est)

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