Saturday, January 05, 2019

Piper PA-24-250 Comanche, N6872P: Accident occurred January 03, 2019 near Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport (KWBW), Luzerne County, Pennsylvania

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

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Allentown, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA
Accident Number: ERA19LA085
Date & Time: 01/03/2019, 1600 EST
Registration: N6872P
Aircraft: Piper PA24
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On January 3, 2019, at 1600 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-24-250, N6872P, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing to a field while on approach to the Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport (WBW), Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The commercial pilot and the flight instructor were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the instructional flight that departed Bradford County Airport (N27), Towanda, Pennsylvania, about 1540.

The pilot stated that he was coming into land and had to extend the downwind leg of the traffic pattern due to a departing aircraft. He turned on to the base leg at an altitude of 1,000 ft above ground level (agl) and extended the landing gear, but the gear did not fully extend, and the gear-handle was "stuck." The pilot removed the access door for the emergency landing gear extension handle, but he could not get it to release. At this point, the flight instructor said, "You better put power in," but there was no response from the engine and the tachometer read "0." The airplane was unable to reach the runway and the pilot made a forced landing to a soccer field. The airplane struck a ditch, resulting in substantial damage to the airframe and an engine mount.

The flight instructor stated the pilot extended the landing gear on the base leg of the traffic pattern, but it extended mid-way and stopped. The pilot then said, "the engine quit." The flight instructor told the pilot to retract the gear, but the gear would not retract. The pilot tried the emergency landing gear extension handle but the handle would not move. The flight instructor also noted that the mixture control was "jammed up sideways" in the full rich position and could not be moved. Due to their low altitude (500 ft), they were unable to land at the airport and made a forced landing to a soccer field. The flight instructor said the landing was smooth until the airplane struck a drainage ditch.

The airplane wreckage was recovered for further examination.

At 1554, the weather conditions reported at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP), Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, located about 6 miles southeast of the accident site, was wind from 010° at 3 knots, visibility 10 miles, overcast clouds 3,600 ft, temperature 2°C, dew point -3°, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of mercury.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N6872P
Model/Series: PA24 250
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
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: AVP, 961 ft msl
Observation Time: 1554 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 2°C / -3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 10°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 3600 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Towanda, PA (N27)
Destination: Wilkes-Barre, PA (WBW)

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: 41.000000, -75.000000 (est)

FORTY FORT — Two occupants narrowly escaped injury when their small plane made an emergency landing on a recreational soccer field near the Wyoming Valley Airport Thursday afternoon.

“It could have been a lot worse,” said borough Mayor Andy Tuzinski, speaking in his role as emergency management director.

Tuzinski was at the scene with first responders after the aircraft came down at 4:12 p.m.

Aboard the aircraft were two men, a pilot and instructor, who had flown out of Towanda, Bradford County, and were preparing to land in Forty Fort for refuelling, Tuzinski said.

As they approached the airfield, the pair experienced a problem with the landing gear, he added. Unable to use the manual override, they opted to make a controlled crash-landing on the empty soccer field just south of the airport’s runway.

“They did everything they needed to do and they brought the plane down safely,” Tuzinski said. “There were no injuries and they were able to walk away from the plane.”

The plane will have to remain on the field until National Transportation Safety Board officials arrive to perform an investigation, Tuzinski said. Because no one was injured, that may take a few days.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records for the plane’s registration number, it is a 1960 single-engine Piper registered to an owner in Bradford County with a certificate valid through June 2020.

It is not the first plane to touch down on that soccer field.

In 1988 another small aircraft crashed there, resulting in the deaths of two people. Tuzinski, a longtime firefighter, was on the scene for that incident as well, he recalled Thursday.

“I am glad everything went as well as it could have today,” he said.

Original article can be found here ➤

FORTY FORTY, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) A little excitement late Thursday afternoon in Forty Fort, Luzerne County when a small plane came in for a landing.

The plane came down in the middle of a soccer field.   

Eyewitness News was on the scene shortly after crews were called about the plane emergency.

Forty Fort Mayor Andy Tuzinski tells us the plane was on its way from Towanda to the Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport when the plane experienced technical problems.

The pilot made an emergency landing on the nearby soccer field in Forty Fort. Mayor Tuzinski says the pilot and co-pilot were not injured.

Original article can be found here ➤

WYOMING, Pennsylvania  --  A small plane headed from Towanda to the Wyoming Valley Airport in Wyoming had a close call.

Two experienced pilots inside the plane realized the landing gear was broken as they were traveling on Thursday afternoon.

The pilots decided to land on the soccer fields near the airport.

They were able to successfully do so with no injuries after the emergency landing in Luzerne County.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. Something doesn't add up here. Why not land at the nearby airport where you have plenty of room and runway and possibly emergency support vehicles? Sounds like more problems than landing gear, possibly fuel exhaustion? The prop tips are bent indicating rotation but that could come from windmilling. Glad they are alright and the plane looks fixable.

  2. Prop tips are bent aft, which means there was no power on the aircraft.

  3. I bet it will come out in the investigation that the cause was fuel exhaustion and the gear was left up to maximize glide in hopes of reaching the airport. Good thing they found a soccer field and pulled off a successful forced landing. Too bad the classic Piper had to suffer the consequences.

  4. I do not smell or see any fuel residue ......

  5. There are no grassy areas at the airport .... Wait, that's not right.

  6. The pilot did everything right. the news article does not include all the information, ha! imagine that. the engine quit as well as the gear malfunctioning. the reason will be released in the report but he did not put it in the field because the gear wouldn't lock. there was plenty of gas. they were lucky the soccer field was there, there isn't many outs at Wyoming valley.

  7. IF I would have the choice to make an precautionary landing I would opt for a concrete RWY. Grass can give unexpected effects when some part digs in. Concrete will do most probably some more damage due to abrasion but at least it will be LONG, flat and predictable. The damage/cost to the plane should be not on the top of the prio list.
    Here in this case I also don't understand why land off airport, just to be on grass. OK a soccer field will be more or less flat, but most are limited in length, and also like in this case it can have obstacles, You see the RH leading edge damaged. And it will make the already stressful landing more difficult because of the trees around it to complicate it even more. I hope some day we will have the full report why the instructor came to this decision.

    1. Good theory but.....The nose gear snagged the mixture cable and pulled it full lean which shut the engine off and jambed the gear midway. I know because it was me.

  8. as I said above, he landed in the soccer field because he couldn't reach the airport.