Saturday, July 13, 2019

Fuel Exhaustion: Piper PA-24 Comanche, N5661R, accident occurred June 19, 2016 near Hobby Airport (KHOU), Houston, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Houston, TX
Accident Number: CEN16LA225
Date & Time: 06/19/2016, 2232 CDT
Registration: N5661R
Aircraft: PIPER PA 24
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 19, 2016, about 2232 central daylight time, a Piper PA-24-180 airplane, N5661R, was substantially damaged after it impacted the roof of a warehouse following a complete loss of engine power during approach to William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), Houston, Texas. The pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The airplane departed from an unknown airport near St. Louis, Missouri, about 1730 and was destined for HOU.

When the airplane was about six miles north of HOU the pilot informed the controller he had lost all engine power and would not be able to make it the to airport. The controller dispatched emergency equipment to the airplane's last known position and a police helicopter quickly found the wreckage on the roof of a 40-foot tall warehouse. Emergency responders treated the pilot at the scene, lowered him from the warehouse roof, and transported him to the hospital. There was no evidence of a fuel spill and there was no post-impact fire .

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who examined the airplane, no fuel was found in either fuel tank. In a hospital interview, the pilot told the inspector that the engine lost power due to fuel exhaustion. No information was obtained during the investigation that detailed where the pilot had departed from or how much fuel was onboard the airplane at the start of the accident flight. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 57, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Unknown
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/04/2015
Flight Time: (Estimated) 200 hours (Total, all aircraft), 24 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N5661R
Model/Series: PA 24
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1959
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 24-732
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/16/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2550 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 22 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4090 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A1A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHOU, 47 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2153 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 153°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 3000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles  
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 150°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 23°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: St. Loui, MO (SUS)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Houston, TX (HOU)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1730 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class B

Airport Information

Airport: William P. Hobby (HOU)
Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 46 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 12L
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5148 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

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:  29.732222, -95.335556 (est)

1 comment:

  1. That beautiful plane didn't deserve that ending. So preventable.