Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance, operated by Bidzy Ta Hot Anna Corporation, doing business as Tanana Air Service, N4352F: Accident occurred November 21, 2016 at McGrath Airport (PAMC), Alaska

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms 
  
http://registry.faa.gov/N4352F

Location: McGrath, AK
Accident Number: ANC17LA014
Date & Time: 11/20/2016, 1657 AKS
Registration: N4352F
Aircraft: PIPER PA 32R-300
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Defining Event: Electrical system malf/failure
Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled 

On November 20, 2016, about 1657 Alaska standard time, a Piper PA-32R-300 airplane, N4352F, sustained minor damage following a landing gear collapse during the landing roll on runway 16 at the McGrath Airport (PAMC), McGrath, Alaska. The commercial pilot and two of the passengers sustained no injuries. Fifteen days after the accident, the third passenger contacted the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) Alaska regional office to report that she had sustained serious injuries as a result of the landing gear collapse event. The airplane was being operated by Bidzy Ta Hot Anna Corporation, dba Tanana Air Service, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on-demand commercial flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at PAMC and company flight following procedures were in effect for the visual flight rules flight. The flight departed Shageluk Airport (PAHX), Shageluk, Alaska, destined for Nikolai Airport (PAFS), Nikolai, Alaska, but elected to divert to PAMC following a landing gear malfunction when the airplane was approaching PAFS.

On December 21, the pilot provided a written statement to the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC). The pilot reported that the airplane's electrical system began to malfunction as the airplane approached PAFS. As he prepared for landing, he placed the landing gear selector handle in the down position to extend the landing gear. The pilot said that both main landing gear extended, and cockpit indications confirmed the gear were down and locked, but the nose landing gear did not extend and the cockpit indicator warned of an unlocked/unsafe condition. He then attempted to retract the landing gear and divert to PAMC, but the landing gear did not retract. At PAMC, the pilot flew a number of low approaches over the runway and a mechanic confirmed that the nose landing gear was not down and locked. The pilot then completed the emergency landing gear extension checklist then flew another low approach over the runway, which confirmed that the nose landing gear was still retracted. The pilot continued to attempt to extend the landing gear to no avail. Unable to get the nose gear to extend, he elected to land the airplane; the mechanic reminded him to shut down the engine when the runway "was made" and to cut off the fuel. The pilot stated the touchdown was uneventful and he held the nose of the airplane off the runway for several hundred feet. The left main landing gear then collapsed, and the nose wheel subsequently locked; the left wing then contacted the runway surface as the airplane continued to slide about 200 feet before coming to rest on the centerline of the runway. The pilot reported that no luggage shifted during the landing. A witness confirmed that the touchdown was smooth and when the weight of the airplane got on the main gear, the left gear collapsed and the nose gear locked in place. The airplane continued to decelerate gradually and remained on the runway.

The pilot reported that he and the front-seat passenger exited the airplane with the help of fire department personnel to ensure they didn't slip and the back-seat passengers exited the airplane on their own and quickly moved away from the airplane as instructed. The witness from the fire department stated that all three passengers exited the airplane on their own, that no one appeared injured or in pain, and that all refused medical treatment and said they were okay. A third witness, who was a first responder, stated that the rear-seat passenger retrieved her luggage, walked to an ambulance to get warm, and assured the first responder she was okay. The pilot reported that he saw this passenger walking through the snow later that evening.

A review of photographs taken of the airplane show paint scraping on the bottom outboard edge of the left aileron, missing paint and an estimated 1-inch hole on the bottom outboard 6 inches of the left flap, evidence of scraping on the bottom of the left flap outboard control arm, a broken pitot mast, and scraping damage to the left main landing gear door.

In a statement provided to the NTSB on December 11, the front-seat passenger stated that the airplane "hit the ground hard and began to slide." She said that, when the belly of the plane hit the ground, she felt her back "jar" and knew she was injured. She further stated that although she complained of neck and back pain, she received no medical attention that evening or the next day at the clinic. Three days later, in Seattle, she received medical attention that revealed that the right transverse process of the L2 vertebrae was fractured.

The landing gear system in the PA-32 is electrically driven and hydraulically actuated. According to the maintenance manual, hydraulic fluid to the landing gear actuating cylinders is supplied by an electrically powered reversible pump. The airplane is also equipped with an emergency landing gear extension control. When activated, this system will release the hydraulic pressure that is holding the gear in the "up" position, allowing it to freefall and lock into place. While the main landing gear extends perpendicular to the relative wind, the nose gear, with assistance from a spring, extends opposite of the relative wind.

Following the landing, the operator examined the airplane and determined that the alternator became inoperative during the flight, and, due to the cold external temperatures, the battery was unable to accommodate the electrical load required by the system. Also, the grease on the nosewheel was thick, which, when combined with the cold temperatures, can increase its viscosity and lower its effectiveness. When the alternator and battery were replaced, the aircraft was placed on jacks and the gear actuated as designed.

At 1653, a METAR from PAMC reported, in part: wind calm, visibility 10 statute miles, sky condition clear, temperature -9 °F, dewpoint -17 °F, altimeter 29.64 inches of mercury. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 60, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/01/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 3200 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1000 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N4352F
Model/Series: PA 32R-300 300
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1976
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 32R-7680441
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3600 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer:
ELT:
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner:  BIDZY TA HOT AANA CORP
Rated Power:
Operator:  BIDZY TA HOT AANA CORP
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135)
Operator Does Business As: Tanana Air Service
Operator Designator Code: BTHA

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAMC, 338 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0153 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 334°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.64 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: -23°C / -27°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: SHAGELUK, AK (SHX)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Destination:  NIKOLAI, AK (FSP)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1530 AKS
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: MCGRATH (MCG)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 342 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: 16
IFR Approach: Unknown
Runway Length/Width: 5936 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 None
Latitude, Longitude:  62.952778, -155.605556 (est)

NTSB Identification: ANC17LA014
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, November 20, 2016 in McGrath, AK
Aircraft: PIPER PA 32R-300, registration: N4352F
Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 20, 2016 about 1657 Alaska standard time, a Piper PA-32R-300 airplane, N4352F, sustained minor damage following a partial landing gear collapse during the landing rollout on Runway 16 at the McGrath Airport, McGrath, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) on-demand charter flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated by Bidzy Ta Hot Anna Corporation, dba Tanana Air Service. Of the four occupants on board, the certificated commercial pilot and two of the passengers reported no injuries. On December 5, the fourth passenger contacted the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) Alaska Regional Office to report that she had sustained serious injuries as result of the landing gear collapse event. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the McGrath Airport and company flight following procedures were in effect. The flight departed Shageluk Airport, Shageluk, Alaska, destined for Nikolai Airport, Nikolai, Alaska, before diverting to the McGrath Airport. 

On December 21, the pilot provided a written statement to the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) stating, in part, that while approaching Nikolai, the airplane's electrical system began to malfunction. He said that as the flight neared Nikolai, and as he prepared for landing, he placed the landing gear selector handle in the down position to extend the landing gear. The pilot said that both main landing gear wheels extended, and cockpit indications confirmed they were down and locked, but the nose landing gear did not extend and the cockpit indicator warned of an unlocked/unsafe condition. He then attempted to retract the landing gear and divert to the McGrath Airport, but the landing gear did not retract. Once arriving overhead of the McGrath Airport, the pilot flew a number of low approaches over the runway so ground personnel could determine the landing gear position. The pilot then completed the emergency landing gear extension checklist before flying another low approach over the runway, which confirmed that the nose landing gear wheel was still in the retracted position. Unable to get the nose gear to extend, he elected to land the airplane with the engine shut down to avoid extensive engine damage. He stated the touchdown was uneventful and the nose of the airplane was held off the runway for several hundred feet as the speed of the airplane slowed. During landing rollout, the left main landing gear retracted, and the left wing contacted the runway surface. The airplane continued to slide about 200 feet before coming to rest on the centerline of the runway. 

The airplane sustained minor scraping damage to the outboard edge of the left aileron. 

In a written statement to the NTSB dated December 11, the injured passenger stated that during the landing, the airplane "hit the ground hard and began to slide." Following the impact, she said she felt her back "jar" and knew she was injured. She further stated that although complaining of neck and back pain, she received no medical attention while in McGrath. She said that three days later, after traveling to Seattle, Washington, she sought medical attention, which revealed a fractured L2 Vertebrae.

Several witnesses on the ground stated that as the airplane touched down smoothly on the runway, and the nose was lowered, the left main landing gear collapsed and the left wing contacted runway. The deceleration was slow and did not appear to be abrupt. 

On December 6, during a telephone conversation with the NTSB's Alaska Regional Office Chief, a McGrath Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO), along with an Alaska Wildlife State Trooper, both reported that they were asked to standby during the airplane's emergency landing at McGrath. Both consistently described the touchdown and landing rollout as a very controlled and smooth landing event. The VPSO reported that he specifically asked all four occupants if there were any injuries, and all replied no. 

At 1653, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) from the McGrath Airport reported, in part: wind calm; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition, clear; temperature -9 degrees F, dewpoint -17 degrees F; altimeter, 29.64 inHg.

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