Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II, N41AT, accident occurred April 03, 2019 in Prairieville, Ascension Parish, Louisiana

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Prairieville, LA
Accident Number: CEN19LA132
Date & Time: 04/03/2019, 1000 CDT
Registration: N41AT
Aircraft: Piper PA28R
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On April 3, 2019, about 1000 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-200 airplane, N41AT, sustained minor damage during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Prairieville, Louisiana. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR), Baton Rouge, Louisiana, about 0950 and was destined for the Louisiana Regional Airport (REG), Gonzales, Louisiana.

The pilot reported that he had picked up the airplane after the annual inspection was completed. About 5 minutes after takeoff, the engine started to run rough and almost immediately seized. He setup for a forced landing on an interstate highway; however, on final approach, the airplane struck a semi-tractor trailer. The airplane subsequently contacted the ground adjacent to the highway and impacted a tree.

A postaccident examination performed by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector determined that the engine oil drain valve was damaged which had resulted in a loss of engine oil. The valve damage was consistent with contact from the nose landing gear during retraction. Further investigation revealed that the installed drain valve did not correspond to the airframe manufacturer's requirements. The installed valve protruded about 1-1/8 inches from the engine, while the manufacturer specified valve protruded about 1/2 inch. In addition, the required warning placard related to the oil valve installation was not present on the engine mount.

A review of the airplane maintenance records revealed that an annual inspection was completed the day before the accident. The entry noted that the oil valve had "stuck open" during the oil change and a new one was installed. It also noted that "clearance with landing gear [was] verified during retract tests."

In December 1980, Piper Aircraft issued Service Letter No. 910 which notified owner/operators of the installation of incorrect oil drain valves on PA-28R-200 airplanes. The service letter specifically noted the possibility of damage to the valve during nose landing gear retraction and a loss of engine oil during flight. The service letter recommended inspection of the drain valve to ensure that the correct valve was installed and replacement of any incorrectly installed valves. In addition, the service letter provided for the installation of warning placards on each side of the engine mount in the area of the drain valve in order to advise maintenance personnel. In October 1981, the FAA issued airworthiness directive 81-11-02 R1 requiring inspection of the engine oil drain valves and installation of the warning placards as specified in the previously issued service letter.

The current airplane service manual, revision dated January 2008, included a cautionary note regarding the engine oil drain valve. Specifically, the manual advised personnel to verify that the correct valve was installed and warned that the installation of an incorrect valve may damage the sump or the drain valve. It noted the possibility of a loss of engine oil and engine seizure in such instances. The manual also included the warning placard as part of the engine installation diagram.

Pilot Information

Age: 63, Male
Airplane Rating(s): 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): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/26/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/22/2017
Flight Time:  1161 hours (Total, all aircraft), 952 hours (Total, this make and model), 1161 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 11 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N41AT
Model/Series: PA28R 200
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1975
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28R-7635146
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/02/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2650 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 1 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4754 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-C1C
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 200 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: REG, 14 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0955 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 340°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 80°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.29 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Baton Rouge, LA (BTR)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Gonzales, LA (REG)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:0950 CDT 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 30.346389, -91.029444 (est)

Pilot James Ritter

Bandage wraps the hand of pilot James Ritter, of Prairieville, Louisiana
Pilot James Ritter

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — State police say a small private plane has crash-landed just off Interstate 10 in Louisiana.

The pilot was the only person on board and walked away with minor injuries. He told Baton Rouge news outlets he tried to land on the interstate when his engine shut down. He believes the plane "skimmed across the top" of an 18-wheeler before crashing to the side of the highway.

It happened Wednesday morning in the Baton Rouge area, near the line between Ascension and East Baton Rouge parishes.

Images posted by Baton Rouge news outlets show the plane to the side of eastbound lanes at the edge of some woods.

Pilot James Ritter video interview ➤

A small private plane crashed off of Interstate 10 eastbound near Bluff Road and Highland Road on Wednesday morning, resulting in minor injuries for the pilot, authorities said. 

State Police responded to the crash and posted to Twitter that the private plane landed on the interstate near the line between East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes.

Injuries to the pilot, the only person on board, were minor.

The pilot, James Ritter, said on the scene that he picked the four-seat plane up at the Baton Rouge Airport around 9:30 a.m. and was heading back to Louisiana Regional Airport. Halfway through the trip, the engine started shuttering and locked up.

"I picked the interstate to land on and as I was coming down for the landing, I think I skimmed across an 18-wheeler, which threw me over to the side," Ritter said. "It was either trees or interstate, and that looked like a pretty good runway. … Thank the Lord that I'm walking away."

When asked if it was a crash or a landing, Ritter said: "I definitely call it a crash in my book."

The air traffic recording for the crash includes exchanges between Ritter and air traffic controllers in which Ritter warns them of his plans to land on the interstate. They respond that emergency crews have already been alerted. And several seconds later they observe the plane has come to rest on the side of the interstate and "hit pretty hard" but appears "right side up."

St. George Fire Department spokesman Eldon Ledoux said the crash landing occurred after the plane lost oil pressure. He said the truck that was hit during the landing had left the scene. 

State Police said the plane would remain in place overnight Wednesday while Federal Aviation Administration officials complete their investigation. Authorities have asked drivers to avoid the area if possible because of traffic delays.

Pilot James Ritter video interview ➤

Louisiana State Police spokesman Taylor Scrantz speaks to media members after pilot James Ritter landed the Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II, background, between the interstate and the treeline just off I-10 Eastbound, Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019. Officials were referring to the incident as a forced landing, but Ritter smiled and said it was a crash to him. He came out with only minor injuries to his hands, from hitting the yoke at impact, after the engine seized up, going dead after what he said appeared to be an oil problem. There were no other passengers with him, but traffic on I-10 slowed dramatically as people looked at the scene.

The scene of a crashed plane near I-101 in Baton Rouge.

Pilot James Ritter (left)

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (WAFB) - Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) worked a plane crash off of I-10 near Bluff Road and Highland Road in East Baton Rouge Parish Wednesday morning.

A Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II aircraft made a crash landing just before 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 3 in an eastbound lane of I-10 between the Highland Road exit and Bayou Manchac.

The pilot, James Ritter of Prairieville, was the only person in the aircraft and was treated for minor injuries.

Ritter says he suddenly lost oil pressure and made an emergency landing on the interstate, clipping a truck on the way down. Officials say the truck left the scene.

"As I was coming down, evidently I skidded across the top of an 18-wheeler I couldn’t see. It came up underneath me and then once I skidded off of him, it threw me sideways and skidded through the ditch and into the trees,” Ritter said.

The aircraft came to rest in the tree line just off the side of the roadway.

“Any landing you walk away from is a good landing,” Ritter said. “Got scratches a little bit and beat up, but shaken up, but that comes with the territory. I’m fortunate, some wood to knock on. Been flying since I was 18 and [this is] the first time that’s ever happened, so I’m thankful for that.”

Officials with Louisiana State Police say the plane will remain in place along the interstate overnight so crews with the FAA can complete their crash investigation.

LSP is providing security at the scene and a trooper will stay at the scene at all times until the plane can be safely removed from the side of the interstate.

Officials with DOTD say the plane could be removed as early as Thursday, April 4th.

Original article can be found here ➤

1 comment:

  1. Plane looks fixable so kudos to the pilot for pulling off a successful forced landing.