Monday, April 29, 2019

Zenith CH 601 HDS Zodiac, registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight, N61PG: Accident occurred April 27, 2019 near Fuquay/Angier Field Airport (NC78), Angier, North Carolina

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Angier, NC
Accident Number: ERA19LA159
Date & Time: 04/27/2019, 1500 EDT
Registration: N61PG
Aircraft: Zenair Zodiac CH601
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On April 27, 2019, about 1500 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Zodiac CH 601 HDS, N61PG, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a partial loss of engine power about 1 mile from Fuquay/Angier Field Airport (NC78), Angier, North Carolina. The sport pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from Gilliam-McConnell Airfield (BQ1), Carthage, North Carolina about 1415.

The pilot reported that he departed BQ1 with about 15 gallons of fuel. While about 10 miles from his destination of NC78, the engine "stumbled/stuttered briefly and then resumed running normally," but then 1 or 2 minutes later, the same conditions occurred, but were more severe and more sustained. For the remainder of the flight, the engine continued to run rough, and would momentarily "cut out" intermittently, but the engine did not stop completely. When the airplane was about 1,000 ft above ground level and losing altitude, the pilot pulled the throttle to idle and approached a field to complete an off-airport landing. During the subsequent landing roll, the airplane impacted a pile of dirt and nosed over.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who examined the airplane at the recovery facility, the fuselage, wings, and empennage sustained substantial damage. The inspector confirmed that the engine had compression and continuity when the propeller was rotated by hand. Both carburetors had fuel in their respective bowls, and fuel was present in both wing tanks and the header tank.

According to FAA airmen records, the pilot held a sport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. He reported a total of 337 flight hours, 53 hours of which were in the accident airplane.

At 1500, the weather conditions reported at Harnett Regional Jetport Airport (HRJ), Erwin, North Carolina, 10 miles south of the accident site were, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, wind 240° at 6 knots, temperature 24°C, dew point 2°C, and barometric pressure of 29.91 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Zenair
Registration: N61PG
Model/Series: Zodiac CH601 HDS
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
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: KHRJ, 201 ft msl
Observation Time: 1500 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 240°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.91 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Carthage, NC (BQ1)
Destination: Fuquay/Angier, NC (NC78)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 35.392500, -78.706667 (est)

FUQUAY-VARINA, North Carolina  — A pilot experienced a close call Saturday when his plane went down in a field in Fuquay-Varina.

The pilot, 67-year-old Rolf M. Grandstaff, was taken to Harnett Central Hospital for treatment of minor injuries after crawling to a nearby house, where a family provided help.

The plane went down in the Penley family’s backyard, but they didn’t hear a crash, only a knock at the door.

“This gentleman came to the door and said, ‘My plane had crashed’ and he said, ‘I need help,” Tammy Penley said. “He was very bruised, very cut up. He had several lacerations.”

Authorities in Harnett County said Grandstaff was flying a single-engine private plane when he started having engine issues. He turned the engine off, then coasted into a field behind the Penleys’ home, where the plane flipped over.

“You could see where he had crawled out of the window and where he broke the window and the stuff laying around it,” Penley said.

Penley immediately offered help, first calling 911.

“I called the ambulance and they told us what to do. I got a washcloth and held it on top of his head. He had a pretty serious wound on his head,” she said.

Grandstaff is expected to be OK, and Penley credits a little help from above.

“I’m just thankful he’s alive because, when you see those pictures, it was God that protected him and kept him safe,” she said.

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