Sunday, May 12, 2019

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six, personal flight operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, N3941X: Accident occurred October 31, 2016 near Bartow Municipal Airport (KBOW), Polk County, Florida

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

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Bartow, FL
Accident Number: ERA17LA034
Date & Time: 10/31/2016, 1502 EDT
Registration: N3941X
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 October 31, 2016, at 1502 eastern daylight time, a privately owned and operated Piper PA-32-300, N3941X, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Bartow, Florida. The pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight that was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight originated at Sanford International Airport (SFB), Orlando, Florida, and was destined for Bartow Municipal Airport (BOW), Bartow, Florida.

According to the pilot, after entering a left downwind leg for the runway 05 traffic pattern at BOW, he reduced engine power and the airplane began to vibrate and shake. The engine then lost all power, while the propeller continued to windmill. He attempted to restart the engine using the emergency checklist procedures but was unsuccessful. He determined he would not be able to reach the runway and maneuvered toward a nearby pasture for an emergency landing. During the landing rollout, the airplane struck a fence damaging the left wheel hydraulic brake line which caused a loss of brake pressure. When he applied the brakes, he lost directional control and the nose landing gear collapsed.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the firewall was damaged, and the fuselage skin aft of the firewall was wrinkled. An unmeasured amount of fuel was present in all four fuel tanks, and fuel was present at the fuel injector nozzles. Oil was present in the crankcase, and cylinder compression was attained on all cylinders when the propeller was rotated by hand. While rotating the engine, a grinding/crunching noise occurred once, but was not repeatable. The magnetos made noise consistent with rotation but were not tested for spark. The engine oil filter contained some particles.

According to the FAA inspector, the engine had accrued about 2,060 total hours since overhaul, and the airplane had flown about 25 hours since the most recent annual inspection.

The engine was examined again by a National Transportation Safety Board Investigator. After removal of the lower engine cowling, and removal of the top spark plugs, the engine's crankshaft was manually rotated. The crankshaft rotated without any signs of grinding. Thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. The oil "finger" screen was removed, it was clean and clear of debris. The No. 4 cylinder was removed to gain access to the case and view the crankshaft, camshaft and internal components. The push rods were clean, and no carbon or metal was present. There was no rust present in the cylinder, no scoring from rings or any signs of rubbing. The valves were seated and no traces of overtemperature. The pushrods and rockers were clean, lubricated, and no metal was observed. The piston and rings were clean and exhibited no marks. The connecting rod was clean, moved freely and was lubricated. The camshaft, crankshaft and internal components that could be seen from this opening were clean, with no corrosion and no metal particles visible.

The oil filter was cut open during the previous examination and the filter case contained carbon deposits at the bottom of the filter case. Both magnetos were removed, manually rotated and produced spark from all leads. The fuel servo was removed and inspected for debris, the servo was clean and the finger filter was clear of debris. The air and fuel diaphragms were in intact with no tears or marks. The fuel filter in the mid center section of the airplane was removed for examination. It was also clean, absent of debris, and contained aviation gasoline. All fuel injectors were removed and inspected. They were all clean and absent of debris. The flow divider "spider" was opened for examination, it was clean and clear of debris and the diaphragm was intact. The air filter was removed and was also found clean and clear of debris. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 62, 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): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/05/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/14/2016
Flight Time:  2411 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1770 hours (Total, this make and model), 2284 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 13 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)


Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N3941X
Model/Series: PA32 300
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1975
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 32-7640001
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/20/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3600 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 25 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3968 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-K1A5D
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 300 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: KBOW, 125 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1448 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 3°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 12 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 60°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 16°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: ORLANDO, FL (SFB)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Bartow, FL (BOW)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1430 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 124 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 05
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5000 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

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: 27.964722, -81.786944 (est)

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