Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Birdstrike: Piper PA-23-250 Aztec, N976AZ, accident occurred March 24, 2019 at Tampa International Airport (KTPA), Hillsborough County, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Tampa, FL
Accident Number: GAA19CA180
Date & Time: 03/24/2019, 1427 EDT
Registration: N976AZ
Aircraft: Piper PA23
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Birdstrike
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot of the multiengine airplane reported that, on a descending vector for a visual instrument landing system approach on an instrument flight rules flight plan, about 2,500 to 2,800 ft mean sea level, he "felt the aircraft shudder along with a loud bang." He then disengaged the autopilot to determine if the flight controls were affected and looked for damage on the wing and nose area; he saw no damage. The pilot continued to the airport and landed without further incident. During the landing, the pilot of a waiting aircraft reported that he saw damage to the accident airplane's vertical stabilizer that looked like a bird had hit it. During postaccident examination, blood and tissue were found on the airplane.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the vertical stabilizer.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
An in-flight collision with a bird during the approach, which resulted in damage to the vertical stabilizer.


Environmental issues Animal(s)/bird(s) - Effect on equipment

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute-descent Birdstrike (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 67, 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): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/26/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/18/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 21218 hours (Total, all aircraft), 866 hours (Total, this make and model), 21018 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 166 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 52 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N976AZ
Model/Series: PA23 250
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1976
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 27-7654200
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/28/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 5200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1514.7 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-C4B5
Registered Owner: Mtn Aviation Llc
Rated Power: 250 hp
Operator: Mtn Aviation Llc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KTPA, 11 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1853 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 203°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.19 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: West Palm Beach, FL (F45)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Tampa, FL (TPA)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 1329 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class B

Airport Information

Airport: Tampa Intl (TPA)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt; Concrete
Airport Elevation: 26 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 19L
IFR Approach: ILS; Visual
Runway Length/Width: 8300 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 27.975556, -82.533333 (est)

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