Sunday, July 21, 2019

Midair Collision: Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II, N4407T and Luscombe 8A, N2889K; fatal accident occurred December 31, 2016 near Aero Country Airport (T31), McKinney, Collin County, Texas

Greg and Tim Barber

Robert Navar


The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Dallas, Texas
Piper Aircraft Company; Vero Beach, Florida

N4407T Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 


N4407T Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms 



N4407T Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N4407T





Location: McKinney, TX
Accident Number: CEN17FA063A
Date & Time: 12/31/2016, 1725 CST
Registration: N4407T
Aircraft: PIPER PA28R
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Midair collision
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

The pilots were making personal flights in the two airplanes, a Luscombe and a Piper, when the airplanes collided in midair in the traffic pattern of the nontowered airport where both airplanes were based. The Luscombe, with a commercial pilot and a passenger onboard departed from runway 17 at the airport, turned left to an east heading, and then left to a north heading, which placed the Luscombe on the downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern. Meanwhile, the Piper with a private pilot aboard approached the airport from the northwest, turned east, and then crossed the airport near midfield about 1,800 ft mean sea level, the airport's traffic pattern altitude. The Piper collided with the Luscombe, and both airplanes entered uncontrolled descents and impacted terrain about a quarter of a mile apart.

Postaccident examination of the wreckage found pieces of the Luscombe with the Piper wreckage and pieces of the Piper with the Luscombe wreckage. Paint and transfer marks on the Luscombe were consistent with the Piper impacting the left rear of the Luscombe.

One pilot-rated witness reported that he saw no indication that either pilot saw the other before the airplanes collided, and the radar data showed no indication of maneuvering to avoid a collision by either airplane. The Luscombe's high-wing configuration and the convergence angle of the airplanes that required the Luscombe pilot to look west into a setting sun to see the Piper likely restricted the Luscombe pilot's ability to see the Piper approaching from his left-rear side. The Piper's low wing configuration may also have restricted the Piper pilot's ability to see the Luscombe that was in front of and likely slightly below him. Further, the Piper pilot's decision to use an alternate traffic pattern entry procedure and cross midfield at traffic pattern altitude rather than at least 500 ft above pattern altitude, which is the preferred traffic pattern entry procedure recommended in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance material, provided less opportunity for him to see the Luscombe.

Witnesses reported hearing the Luscombe pilot making radio calls on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). They further reported hearing the pilots of other airplanes making calls on the CTAF, but they were not sure if any of the calls were from the Piper pilot. Therefore, it could not be determined if the Piper pilot was making the FAA-recommended traffic pattern entry radio calls.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's use of an alternate traffic pattern entry procedure, which resulted in his inability to see and avoid the other airplane, which was flying the preferred traffic pattern, and the subsequent midair collision. 

Findings

Personnel issues
Monitoring other aircraft - Pilot (Cause)
Use of policy/procedure - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern downwind
Midair collision (Defining event)

Uncontrolled descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On December 31, 2016, about 1725 central standard time, a Piper PA-28R-200 airplane, N4407T, and a Luscombe 8A airplane, N2889K, were destroyed when they collided in mid-air over McKinney, Texas, about one-half mile east of the Aero Country Airport (T31), McKinney, Texas. The pilot, the sole occupant onboard the Piper was fatally injured, and the pilot and passenger onboard the Luscombe were also fatally injured. Both airplanes were owned and operated by private individuals. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Both flights were operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flights and were not on flight plans. The Luscombe had departed T31 just prior to the accident, and the Piper was returning to T31.

Several witnesses reported seeing the airplanes, including airplanes being close together prior to the accident and were "in formation", "dog fighting" or "flying tandem together".


A review of radar information revealed the Piper approached the airport from the northwest, before turning east over the airport at an altitude of 1,800 ft mean sea level (msl). A transponder signal was not received from the Luscombe; however, a radar return, consistent with the Luscombe flight path revealed that the airplane departed T31's runway 17, turned east and then headed north, as though in a left downwind traffic pattern. Both airplanes were based at T31.


A video of the accident was captured by a camera mounted in a police cruiser. A review of the video showed both airplanes in the distance. The camera is pointed south and captures the Luscombe near the top center of the image and the Piper enters the frame from the right. The Piper continued toward the Luscombe until they collided. The video then reveals both airplanes spiraling downward in an uncontrolled descent. [photos from the video is included in the docket for this accident] Additionally, a security camera of a nearby business caught part of the Piper's descent, just before impact with the ground.


The Luscombe also had a Go-Pro camera in the cockpit, that was recording during the flight. A review of the Go-Pro video revealed that the camera did not capture the mid-air collision. However, the video did capture images prior to takeoff and during the initial departure. The NTSB's Video Recorders Laboratory technician's report is included in the docket for this accident.


Pilot Information


Certificate: Private

Age: 48
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/25/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/24/2016
Flight Time: 815.3 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot of the Luscombe held a commercial pilot certificate with rating for airplane single-engine and multi-engine land with centerline thrust limitation. The pilot's last medical certificate that was issued on May 22, 2003 as a second class with no limitations. At the time of the exam the pilot listed 325 hours and 6 hours, in the previous 6-months. The pilot was reportedly a former US Air Force pilot; however, investigators did not receive the pilot's total flight time, which would have included his military flight time. The pilot was eligible to fly under the sport pilot medical rules, which requires him to have a valid driver's license.


The pilot of the Piper held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot's second-class medical certificate was issued on May 25, 2016, with the limitation: must wear corrective lenses. At the time of the exam, the pilot listed 796.7 total hours and 4 hours in the previous 6-months. A review of the pilot's logbook, located in the wreckage, revealed he had a total flight time of 815.3 hours, with the last flight recorded on November 19, 2016. 


Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information


Aircraft Make: PIPER

Registration: N4407T
Model/Series: PA28R 200
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1972
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28R-7235089
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/01/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1989.28 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: I0360 SER
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 200 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The Luscombe 8A is a two-seat, high-wing, single-engine airplane, with fixed landing gear. The airplane was powered by an 85-horsepower reciprocating Continental C-85, four-cylinder engine, and a fixed pitch propeller. The airplane was modified with an electrical system including a radio; the airplane was not equipped with a transponder. The airplane qualifies as a light-sport airplane. The last annual inspection was completed on November 25, 2016, at the time of the inspection, the airplane total time was 3,841.43 hours and 485.56 hours since engine overhaul.


The Piper PA28R-200 is a four-seat, low-wing, single-engine airplane, with retractable landing gear. The airplane was powered by a 200-horsepower reciprocating Lycoming IO-360-C1C, four-cylinder engine, and a constant speed propeller. The last annual inspection was completed on February 1, 2016, at the time of the inspection, the airframe and engine had a tachometer time of 1,989.28 hours and 91.28 hours since an engine top overhaul.


Neither airplane was equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), nor were they required to be. Though, the absence of a transponder in the Luscombe was not in compliance with the airspace's mode C vail transponder requirement. 


Meteorological Information and Flight Plan


Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions

Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KTKI
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1653 CST
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 200°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.76 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: McKinney, TX (T31)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination:
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: CST
Type of Airspace: 

At 1653, the weather observation station located at the McKinney National Airport and about 8 miles east of the accident site recorded: wind from 200° at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, a clear sky, a temperature of 64° F, dew point 43° F, and an altimeter setting of 29.76 inches of mercury.


Astronomical data from the U.S. Navy Observatory for McKinney, Texas, Collin county, recorded a sunrise at 0730, sunset at 1730, and the end of civil twilight at 1757.


Airport Information

Airport: Aero Country Airport (T31)

Runway Surface Type: 
Airport Elevation: 765 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 17
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4352 ft / 60 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern 

The Aero Country Airport (T31) is a privately owned, open to the public, non-towered airport, located 4 miles west of McKinney, Texas. Pilots are to use the CTAF for communications. T31 has a single asphalt runway oriented 17/35, and 4,352 ft long by 60 ft wide. The airport is at an elevation of 765 ft.


The T31 airport is situated underneath the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas class B airspace, and inside the 30-nautical mile (transponder) mode C vail. 




Wreckage and Impact Information


Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal

Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.206667, -96.732778 

The Luscombe impacted a residential street east of the airport and came to rest in a near vertical attitude. Evidence of fuel was present at the accident site, and there was no post-crash fire. The wreckage was removed from the street and was examined. Impact marks and paint/tire transfer marks found on the vertical stabilizer and left rear of the fuselage on the Luscombe were attributed to the Piper. A piece of the Piper wing skin was found among the Luscombe wreckage. The left stabilizer and elevator were missing, and not located during the on-scene portion of the investigation. The stabilizer and elevator were located near a fenced off dumpster and turned over to investigators on February 7, 2017.


The Piper impacted an open concrete area of a storage facility, about one-quarter mile east of the Luscombe. The wreckage was scattered just beyond the initial ground impact point and came to rest near storage lockers. A post-crash fire consumed a portion of the wreckage. Impact and fire damage prevented verification of flight control continuity; however, examination of the flight control cables revealed overload failures and first responder cuts. The landing gear appeared to be extended. Several pieces of unidentified metal skin from the Luscombe were found with the Piper wreckage. 

Communications


Neither pilot was in contact with an air traffic control facility, nor were they required to be. Witnesses reported that they heard the pilot of the Luscombe on the radio CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency)), recognizing his voice. They added that there were other radio transmissions, but wasn't sure if they were from the Piper pilot or not. 


Medical And Pathological Information


The Office of the Collin County Medical Examiner, McKinney, Texas conducted autopsies on the pilots. The cause of deaths was determined to be: "blunt force injuries".


The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on both pilots. The specimens were not tested for cyanide and carbon monoxide. The tests were negative for ethanol and tested drugs.




Additional Information


Excerpts from FAA Advisory Circular AC 90-66B, Non -Towered Airport Flight Operations


This AC calls attention to regulatory requirements, recommended operations, and communications procedures for operating at an airport without a control tower or an airport with a control tower that operates only part time. It recommends traffic patterns, communications phraseology, and operational procedures for use by aircraft, lighter-than-air aircraft, gliders, parachutes, rotorcraft, and ultralight vehicles.


10.1 Recommended Traffic Advisory Practices. All traffic within a 10-mile radius of a non-towered airport or a part-time-towered airport when the control tower is not operating should continuously monitor and communicate, as appropriate, on the designated CTAF until leaving the area or until clear of the movement area. After first monitoring the frequency for other traffic present passing within 10 miles from the airport, self-announcing of your position and intentions should occur between 8 and 10 miles from the airport upon arrival. Departing aircraft should continuously monitor/communicate on the appropriate frequency from startup, during taxi, and until 10 miles from the airport, unless 14 CFR or local procedures require otherwise.


11 RECOMMENDED STANDARD TRAFFIC PATTERN. The following information is intended to supplement the AIM [Aeronautical Information Manual], paragraph 4-3-3, Traffic Patterns, and the PHAK [ Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge], Chapter 14.


11.3 Traffic Pattern Entry. Arriving aircraft should be at traffic pattern altitude and allow for sufficient time to view the entire traffic pattern before entering. Entries into traffic


patterns while descending may create collision hazards and should be avoided. Entry to the downwind leg should be at a 45-degree angle abeam the midpoint of the runway to be used for landing. The pilot may use discretion to choose an alternate type of entry, especially when intending to cross over midfield, based upon the traffic and communication at the time of arrival.


Note: Aircraft should always enter the pattern at pattern altitude, especially when flying over midfield and entering the downwind directly. A midfield crossing alternate pattern entry should not be used when the pattern is congested. Descending into the traffic pattern can be dangerous, as one aircraft could descend on top of another aircraft already in the pattern. All similar types of aircraft, including those entering on the 45-degree angle to downwind, should be at the same pattern altitude so that it is easier to visually acquire any traffic in the pattern. 


Figure 1. Preferred and Alternate Entry When Crossing Midfield (From the PHAK)


Preferred Entry When Crossing Over Midfield Alternate Midfield Entry


  
N2889K Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

N2889K Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms



N2889K Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N2889K 

Location: McKinney, TX
Accident Number: CEN17FA063B
Date & Time: 12/31/2016, 1725 CST
Registration: N2889K
Aircraft: LUSCOMBE 8
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Midair collision
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

The pilots were making personal flights in the two airplanes, a Luscombe and a Piper, when the airplanes collided in midair in the traffic pattern of the nontowered airport where both airplanes were based. The Luscombe, with a commercial pilot and a passenger onboard departed from runway 17 at the airport, turned left to an east heading, and then left to a north heading, which placed the Luscombe on the downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern. Meanwhile, the Piper with a private pilot aboard approached the airport from the northwest, turned east, and then crossed the airport near midfield about 1,800 ft mean sea level, the airport's traffic pattern altitude. The Piper collided with the Luscombe, and both airplanes entered uncontrolled descents and impacted terrain about a quarter of a mile apart.

Postaccident examination of the wreckage found pieces of the Luscombe with the Piper wreckage and pieces of the Piper with the Luscombe wreckage. Paint and transfer marks on the Luscombe were consistent with the Piper impacting the left rear of the Luscombe.

One pilot-rated witness reported that he saw no indication that either pilot saw the other before the airplanes collided, and the radar data showed no indication of maneuvering to avoid a collision by either airplane. The Luscombe's high-wing configuration and the convergence angle of the airplanes that required the Luscombe pilot to look west into a setting sun to see the Piper likely restricted the Luscombe pilot's ability to see the Piper approaching from his left-rear side. The Piper's low wing configuration may also have restricted the Piper pilot's ability to see the Luscombe that was in front of and likely slightly below him. Further, the Piper pilot's decision to use an alternate traffic pattern entry procedure and cross midfield at traffic pattern altitude rather than at least 500 ft above pattern altitude, which is the preferred traffic pattern entry procedure recommended in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance material, provided less opportunity for him to see the Luscombe.

Witnesses reported hearing the Luscombe pilot making radio calls on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). They further reported hearing the pilots of other airplanes making calls on the CTAF, but they were not sure if any of the calls were from the Piper pilot. Therefore, it could not be determined if the Piper pilot was making the FAA-recommended traffic pattern entry radio calls.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The other pilot's use of an alternate traffic pattern entry procedure, which resulted in his inability to see and avoid the airplane, which was flying the preferred traffic pattern, and the subsequent midair collision.

Findings

Personnel issues
Monitoring other aircraft - Pilot of other aircraft (Cause)
Use of policy/procedure - Pilot of other aircraft (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern downwind
Midair collision (Defining event)

Uncontrolled descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On December 31, 2016, about 1725 central standard time, a Piper PA-28R-200 airplane, N4407T, and a Luscombe 8A airplane, N2889K, were destroyed when they collided in mid-air over McKinney, Texas, about one-half mile east of the Aero Country Airport (T31), McKinney, Texas. The pilot, the sole occupant onboard the Piper was fatally injured, and the pilot and passenger onboard the Luscombe were also fatally injured. Both airplanes were owned and operated by private individuals. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Both flights were operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flights and were not on flight plans. The Luscombe had departed T31 just prior to the accident, and the Piper was returning to T31.

Several witnesses reported seeing the airplanes, including airplanes being close together prior to the accident and were "in formation", "dog fighting" or "flying tandem together".

A review of radar information revealed the Piper approached the airport from the northwest, before turning east over the airport at an altitude of 1,800 ft mean sea level (msl). A transponder signal was not received from the Luscombe; however, a radar return, consistent with the Luscombe flight path revealed that the airplane departed T31's runway 17, turned east and then headed north, as though in a left downwind traffic pattern. Both airplanes were based at T31.

A video of the accident was captured by a camera mounted in a police cruiser. A review of the video showed both airplanes in the distance. The camera is pointed south and captures the Luscombe near the top center of the image and the Piper enters the frame from the right. The Piper continued toward the Luscombe until they collided. The video then reveals both airplanes spiraling downward in an uncontrolled descent. [photos from the video is included in the docket for this accident] Additionally, a security camera of a nearby business caught part of the Piper's descent, just before impact with the ground.

The Luscombe also had a Go-Pro camera in the cockpit, that was recording during the flight. A review of the Go-Pro video revealed that the camera did not capture the mid-air collision. However, the video did capture images prior to takeoff and during the initial departure. The NTSB's Video Recorders Laboratory technician's report is included in the docket for this accident.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 55
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied:
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time: 

The pilot of the Luscombe held a commercial pilot certificate with rating for airplane single-engine and multi-engine land with centerline thrust limitation. The pilot's last medical certificate that was issued on May 22, 2003 as a second class with no limitations. At the time of the exam the pilot listed 325 hours and 6 hours, in the previous 6-months. The pilot was reportedly a former US Air Force pilot; however, investigators did not receive the pilot's total flight time, which would have included his military flight time. The pilot was eligible to fly under the sport pilot medical rules, which requires him to have a valid driver's license.

The pilot of the Piper held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot's second-class medical certificate was issued on May 25, 2016, with the limitation: must wear corrective lenses. At the time of the exam, the pilot listed 796.7 total hours and 4 hours in the previous 6-months. A review of the pilot's logbook, located in the wreckage, revealed he had a total flight time of 815.3 hours, with the last flight recorded on November 19, 2016.



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: LUSCOMBE
Registration: N2889K
Model/Series: 8 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1947
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 5616
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/25/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1351 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3841.43 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: C-85
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 85 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The Luscombe 8A is a two-seat, high-wing, single-engine airplane, with fixed landing gear. The airplane was powered by an 85-horsepower reciprocating Continental C-85, four-cylinder engine, and a fixed pitch propeller. The airplane was modified with an electrical system including a radio; the airplane was not equipped with a transponder. The airplane qualifies as a light-sport airplane. The last annual inspection was completed on November 25, 2016, at the time of the inspection, the airplane total time was 3,841.43 hours and 485.56 hours since engine overhaul.

The Piper PA28R-200 is a four-seat, low-wing, single-engine airplane, with retractable landing gear. The airplane was powered by a 200-horsepower reciprocating Lycoming IO-360-C1C, four-cylinder engine, and a constant speed propeller. The last annual inspection was completed on February 1, 2016, at the time of the inspection, the airframe and engine had a tachometer time of 1,989.28 hours and 91.28 hours since an engine top overhaul.

Neither airplane was equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), nor were they required to be. Though, the absence of a transponder in the Luscombe was not in compliance with the airspace's mode C vail transponder requirement. 



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KTKI
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1653 CST
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 200°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.76 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: McKinney, TX (T31)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: McKinney, TX (T31)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  CST
Type of Airspace:

At 1653, the weather observation station located at the McKinney National Airport and about 8 miles east of the accident site recorded: wind from 200° at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, a clear sky, a temperature of 64° F, dew point 43° F, and an altimeter setting of 29.76 inches of mercury.

Astronomical data from the U.S. Navy Observatory for McKinney, Texas, Collin county, recorded a sunrise at 0730, sunset at 1730, and the end of civil twilight at 1757.

Airport Information

Airport: Aero Country Airport (T31)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 765 ft
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: 17
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4352 ft / 60 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern 

The Aero Country Airport (T31) is a privately owned, open to the public, non-towered airport, located 4 miles west of McKinney, Texas. Pilots are to use the CTAF for communications. T31 has a single asphalt runway oriented 17/35, and 4,352 ft long by 60 ft wide. The airport is at an elevation of 765 ft.

The T31 airport is situated underneath the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas class B airspace, and inside the 30-nautical mile (transponder) mode C vail. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.206667, -96.732778 

The Luscombe impacted a residential street east of the airport and came to rest in a near vertical attitude. Evidence of fuel was present at the accident site, and there was no post-crash fire. The wreckage was removed from the street and was examined. Impact marks and paint/tire transfer marks found on the vertical stabilizer and left rear of the fuselage on the Luscombe were attributed to the Piper. A piece of the Piper wing skin was found among the Luscombe wreckage. The left stabilizer and elevator were missing, and not located during the on-scene portion of the investigation. The stabilizer and elevator were located near a fenced off dumpster and turned over to investigators on February 7, 2017.

The Piper impacted an open concrete area of a storage facility, about one-quarter mile east of the Luscombe. The wreckage was scattered just beyond the initial ground impact point and came to rest near storage lockers. A post-crash fire consumed a portion of the wreckage. Impact and fire damage prevented verification of flight control continuity; however, examination of the flight control cables revealed overload failures and first responder cuts. The landing gear appeared to be extended. Several pieces of unidentified metal skin from the Luscombe were found with the Piper wreckage. 

Communications

Neither pilot was in contact with an air traffic control facility, nor were they required to be. Witnesses reported that they heard the pilot of the Luscombe on the radio CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency)), recognizing his voice. They added that there were other radio transmissions, but wasn't sure if they were from the Piper pilot or not.

Medical And Pathological Information

The Office of the Collin County Medical Examiner, McKinney, Texas conducted autopsies on the pilots. The cause of deaths was determined to be: "blunt force injuries".

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on both pilots. The specimens were not tested for cyanide and carbon monoxide. The tests were negative for ethanol and tested drugs.

Additional Information

Excerpts from FAA Advisory Circular AC 90-66B, Non -Towered Airport Flight Operations

This AC calls attention to regulatory requirements, recommended operations, and communications procedures for operating at an airport without a control tower or an airport with a control tower that operates only part time. It recommends traffic patterns, communications phraseology, and operational procedures for use by aircraft, lighter-than-air aircraft, gliders, parachutes, rotorcraft, and ultralight vehicles.

10.1 Recommended Traffic Advisory Practices. All traffic within a 10-mile radius of a non-towered airport or a part-time-towered airport when the control tower is not operating should continuously monitor and communicate, as appropriate, on the designated CTAF until leaving the area or until clear of the movement area. After first monitoring the frequency for other traffic present passing within 10 miles from the airport, self-announcing of your position and intentions should occur between 8 and 10 miles from the airport upon arrival. Departing aircraft should continuously monitor/communicate on the appropriate frequency from startup, during taxi, and until 10 miles from the airport, unless 14 CFR or local procedures require otherwise.

11 RECOMMENDED STANDARD TRAFFIC PATTERN. The following information is intended to supplement the AIM [Aeronautical Information Manual], paragraph 4-3-3, Traffic Patterns, and the PHAK [ Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge], Chapter 14.

11.3 Traffic Pattern Entry. Arriving aircraft should be at traffic pattern altitude and allow for sufficient time to view the entire traffic pattern before entering. Entries into traffic

patterns while descending may create collision hazards and should be avoided. Entry to the downwind leg should be at a 45-degree angle abeam the midpoint of the runway to be used for landing. The pilot may use discretion to choose an alternate type of entry, especially when intending to cross over midfield, based upon the traffic and communication at the time of arrival.

Note: Aircraft should always enter the pattern at pattern altitude, especially when flying over midfield and entering the downwind directly. A midfield crossing alternate pattern entry should not be used when the pattern is congested. Descending into the traffic pattern can be dangerous, as one aircraft could descend on top of another aircraft already in the pattern. All similar types of aircraft, including those entering on the 45-degree angle to downwind, should be at the same pattern altitude so that it is easier to visually acquire any traffic in the pattern.

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