Friday, March 01, 2019

Piper PA-32-260, privately owned and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, N1563X: Accident occurred February 28, 2019 in Atlantic Ocean

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

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: West Palm Beach, AO
Accident Number: ERA19TA111
Date & Time: 02/28/2019, 1352 EST
Registration: N1563X
Aircraft: Piper PA32
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On February 28, 2019, at 1352 eastern standard time, a privately owned and operated Piper PA32-260, N1563X, was ditched into the Atlantic Ocean about 25 nautical miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida. The private pilot was uninjured. The airplane was not recovered and presumed substantially damaged. The flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which departed Treasure Coast International Airport (FPR), Fort Pierce, Florida, around 1330 and was destined for Great Harbour Cay Airport (MYBG), Bullocks Harbour, Bahamas.

According to the pilot, he topped off all fuel tanks in FPR, and was flying with visual flight rules flight following to the Bahamas. About 15 minutes after leveling off at 3,500 ft mean sea level, the engine started to "sputter" immediately after the pilot initiated a climb to 7,500 ft. He turned on the fuel boost pump, observed that the fuel pressure was adequate, but noted no improvement in engine performance. He then switched fuel tanks and applied carburetor heat but was unable to diagnose the problem, and the engine lost all power shortly thereafter. He turned into the wind, extended full flaps to reduce the airplane's ground speed, and advised air traffic control that he would be ditching. After landing in the water, the pilot egressed without incident onto the airplane's wing and deployed a life raft; the airplane subsequently sank and was not recovered. The pilot activated a personal emergency position-indicating radio beacon and was rescued.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine and multi-engine land instrument airplane. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed 6,918.9 total hours of flight experience of which 810 hours were in the accident airplane make and model. The pilot's last flight review was logged February 8, 2018.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1975 and was powered by a 260-hp Lycoming O-540-E485 reciprocating engine. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed March 19, 2018, at a recorded tachometer reading of 898.2 hours and an airframe total time of 6,461.2 hours. The engine had accumulated 1,807.5 hours since major overhaul. The pilot reported 84 gallons of fuel onboard at the time of takeoff.

At 1353, the weather reported at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), about 25 miles west of the accident site, included winds from 080° at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 3,600 ft, temperature 24° C, dew point 17° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.05 inches of mercury. Review of a Carburetor Icing Probability Chart for the given temperature and dew point revealed that the conditions were conducive to moderate icing at cruise power.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/02/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/08/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 6507 hours (Total, all aircraft), 810 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N1563X
Model/Series: PA32 260
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1975
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 32-7500037
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/19/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 6461 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-540 E485
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 260 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: PBI, 19 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 25 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1353 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 270°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3600 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: Unknown / None
Wind Direction: 80°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Fort Pierce, FL (KFPR)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Bullocks Harbou, FN (MYBG)
Type of Clearance: VFR; VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1330 EST
Type of Airspace: Unknown 

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: 26.659444, -79.688056 (est)

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