Thursday, November 22, 2018

Piper PA-22-150, N3659Z: Accident occurred January 28, 2017 at Delaware Coastal Airport (KGED), Georgetown, Sussex County, Delaware

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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/N3659Z 




Location: Georgetown, DE
Accident Number: ERA17LA097
Date & Time: 01/28/2017, 1400 EST
Registration: N3659Z
Aircraft: PIPER PA22
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Fire/smoke (non-impact)
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On January 28, 2017, about 1400 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-22-150, N3659Z, was destroyed after it experienced an in-flight fire following takeoff from Delaware Coastal Airport (GED), Georgetown, Delaware. The private pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight that was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, prior to departing GED, he checked the engine oil level, performed a visual inspection of the engine compartment and an engine run-up with no anomalies noted. After departing runway 28, the airplane reached 1,400 feet, and the pilot noticed "thick" smoke coming from behind the instrument panel and then the glareshield. The pilot attempted to return to GED and opened the vent on the left door to evacuate smoke and allow him to search for a runway to land. He then noted flames by his feet and legs, and while "sideslipping" the airplane, burning portions of the roof lining began to fall on him. The airplane continued to descend, and during the subsequent landing roll, the pilot reduced the throttle and mixture to shut down the engine. He pulled on the brake handle; however, the airplane did not slow. The pilot proceeded to egress while the airplane was in motion. The airplane came to rest in a grass area off the right side of runway 4.

Initial examination of the airplane revealed that the fuselage, empennage, and right wing were consumed by fire. The left wing was partially consumed by fire. The engine remained attached to the fuselage and the propeller remained attached to the engine.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the airplane was manufactured in 1960 and registered to the pilot on June 13, 1990. It was equipped with a Lycoming O-320-A2B, a 150-horepower engine. According to the maintenance logbooks, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was performed on January 1, 2017, at a total time of 3,740.5 hours, about 2 operational hours prior to the accident.

According to the Piper PA-22 Owner's Manual, the airplane was equipped with two 18-gallon fuel tanks located in the wings, which drained individually according to the position of the fuel selector valve on the left forward cabin wall. "The main fuel strainer, through which all fuel going to the carburetor flows, is located on the lower left engine side of the firewall…The engine primer pump on the right side of the instrument panel takes fuel from the main gascolator and pumps it directly to all four cylinders of the engine."

According to an NTSB fire protection engineer who examined the wreckage, the pilot's description of the fire in the accident sequence was consistent with a liquid fuel-fed fire. Several sections of the airplane fuel system were consumed by fire. The fuel selector valve was thermally damaged and its function could not be verified. The output fuel line from the fuel selector to the firewall was consumed by fire. The input fuel line from the right-side wing tank was also consumed by fire. The engine primer pump was not located with the wreckage. The primer pump fuel lines were consumed by fire inside the cockpit. Several small sections of copper primer pump fuel lines were located on the firewall with melted ends. The fuel primer lines in the engine compartment remained intact and did not appear to leak. The main fuel line from the fuel strainer to the carburetor, which was located on the left side of the engine compartment, was found loose on the carburetor side. The lower left portion of the engine cowling exhibited more thermal damage than the right side. 



Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 59, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-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: 05/26/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/06/2015
Flight Time:  1082 hours (Total, all aircraft), 870 hours (Total, this make and model), 1037 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 6 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 Make: PIPER
Registration: N3659Z
Model/Series: PA22 150
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1960
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 22-7556
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/01/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 2 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3742.4 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320-A2B
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 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: SBY, 52 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 22 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1354 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 180°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Thin Overcast / 5500 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 5500 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 14 knots / 21 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 240°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.77 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 7°C / -6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: GEORGETOWN, DE (GED)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: LUSBY, MD (MD50)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1400 EDT
Type of Airspace:



Airport Information

Airport: DELAWARE COASTAL (GED)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 53 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 28
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3109 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: In-Flight and On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude:  38.687500, -75.359167 (est)



NTSB Identification: ERA17LA097
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 28, 2017 in Georgetown, DE
Aircraft: PIPER PA22, registration: N3659Z
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 January 28, 2017, about 1400 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-22-150, N3659Z, was destroyed after it experienced an inflight fire after takeoff from Delaware Coastal Airport (GED), Georgetown, Delaware. The private pilot incurred minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight that was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, prior to departing the airport, he checked the engine oil level, performed a visual inspection of the engine compartment, and an engine run-up with no anomalies noted. After departing runway 28, the airplane reached 1,400 feet, and the pilot noticed "thick" smoke coming from behind the instrument panel and then the glareshield. The pilot opened the vent on the left door to evacuate smoke and allow him to search for a runway to land the airplane. He then noted flames by his feet and legs, and while "sideslipping" the airplane to a runway at the departure airport, the roof lining began to fall on him. The airplane continued to descend, and during the subsequent landing roll, the pilot reduced the throttle and mixture to shut down the engine. He pulled on the brake handle; however, the airplane did not slow. The pilot proceeded to egress while the airplane was in motion, and incurred minor injuries. The airplane came to rest in a grass area to the right side of runway 4.

An examination of the airplane revealed that the fuselage, empennage, and right wing were consumed by fire. The left wing was partially consumed by fire. The engine remained attached to the fuselage and the propeller remained attached to the engine.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is impressive that this pilot could slip to land and ground roll to a stop in a grass field, with a cockpit on fire and smoke obscuring his vision. Unlike most accident pictures, the plane here looks completely normal and intact, if you ignore the fact that it is completely incinerated.

Anonymous said...

Good job getting it down!

Anonymous said...

This pilot had nerves of steel and flew the plane all the way to touchdown. That's the only thing that allowed him to survive. I can't imagine the terror in that plane at that moment thinking that you're going to die in the worst possible way. The will to live is strong in this man. Hope he made a full recovery but if it were me I don't think I could go up in a small plane ever again!

Anonymous said...

I would like to know which covering system was used on the fuselage.

Anonymous said...

That plane burned like a balsa & tissue model airplane.

Anonymous said...

The more I look at the picture I'm guessing that the fire in the field is what caused the fuselage covering to burn. It looks like the covering melted on the side of the vertical and the rudder but is still intact on the upper surface of the horizontal. Melted poly-fiber?

Anonymous said...

The intense heat from the burning plane is what caused the dry grass in the field to catch fire. It's like what came 1st, the chicken or the egg!