Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Piper PA-18-105 Special, N215T: Accident occurred March 30, 2019 in Copalis, Grays Harbor County, Washington

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.

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Washington 

Location: Copalis, WA
Accident Number: WPR19LA105
Date & Time: 03/30/2019, 1300 PDT
Registration: N215T
Aircraft: Piper PA18
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 30, 2019, about 1300 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-18-105 airplane, N215T, was destroyed during an off-airport landing near Copalis Beach, Washington. The private pilot/owner sustained minor injuries. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time of the accident. The flight originated from Pierce County Airport - Thun Field (PLU), Puyallup, Washington about 1145.

According to the pilot, he planned to fly to Copalis State Airport (S16) Copalis, Washington. Preflight inspection, start-up, taxi out and takeoff were all normal. About 1 hour into the flight, the engine "started acting up" by running "rough" and losing power. The pilot activated the carburetor heat and manipulated the throttle, but the engine operation did not improve, and he was unable to restore the engine to cruise power. At the time of the event the airplane was at an altitude of "2,000 ft", and the pilot stated that he "did not have any time or altitude" to try to glide to a nearby airport. He then performed an emergency landing on a logging road in a clearcut forest area.

The pilot reported that during the rollout the left wing struck something, which caused the airplane to veer sharply left. The airplane struck another object, and pitched onto its nose, stopping the airplane rapidly, and embedding the propeller and nose in the ground. The pilot saw fuel running into the cockpit and onto him; he believed that it was coming from the left side of the airplane. He exited the right side door, retrieved his headset, and "got away as fast as" he could. In post accident interview, the pilot stated that he left the vicinity of the airplane within less than 5 minutes, primarily because he was afraid that the airplane would catch fire or explode. He never observed any smoke or fire while he was on scene. He did not take any photographs or try to telephone any authorities, despite the fact that he had his mobile telephone in his possession.

The pilot hiked to a paved road, hitch-hiked into the town of Hoquiam, and then telephoned his brother, who picked him up and drove him back to the pilot's house. He never telephoned any law enforcement or fire personnel to report the event and the fire potential. Two days after the accident, the pilot telephoned the NTSB to report the accident. When law enforcement and recovery personnel arrived at the site three days after the accident, they discovered that the airplane had been destroyed by fire, but that the engine was largely untouched by fire.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane singe-engine land rating. He reported that he had about 145 hours total flight experience, including about 31 hours in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent flight review was completed in January 2019, and his most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical certificate was issued in November 2017.

FAA records indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1952. The pilot reported that the airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-320 series engine. The pilot reported that the airplane had a total time (TT) in service of about 4,371 hours, and that the engine had a TT of about 687 hours, and a time since major overhaul (TSMOH) of about 28 hours. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed in December 2018. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N215T
Model/Series: PA18 105 SPECIAL
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Puyallup, WA (PUL)
Destination: Copalis, WA (S16)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 47.070000, -124.119722 (est)

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