Sunday, July 21, 2019

Piper PA-22-150 Tri-Pacer, N7833D: Accident occurred July 14, 2019 in Hastings, St. Johns 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 Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hastings, FL
Accident Number: ERA19LA227
Date & Time: 07/14/2019, 0759 EDT
Registration: N7833D
Aircraft: Piper PA22
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 14, 2019, at 0759 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA22-150, N7833D, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain shortly after takeoff from the Earle Airpark (13FA), Hastings, Florida. The private pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was privately owned and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to a witness who was mowing the turf runway at 13FA, the grass was "really high and wet." He was mowing the perimeter of the runway when he noticed the airplane performing an engine run-up. He then mowed one pass down the center of the runway, before the airplane took off. He watched the airplane take off to the north and noticed that it used nearly the entire 2,300-ft-long runway before it lifted off. It flew over the creek at the far end of the runway in a shallow climb and may have struck corn stalks in the field on the far side of the creek. The airplane then made a 180° turn back toward the runway before it struck trees along the creek. The witness estimated that the airplane climbed no higher than about 100 ft. He was wearing ear protection as he mowed and did not hear the airplane's engine. According to another witness who was in her house about 150 ft from the accident site, the engine sounded "normal" prior to the sound of an impact.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that all major components of the airplane were present at the accident site. The airplane came to rest inverted. Both wings were separated from the fuselage at their root and were impact damaged. The engine and upper cowling were separated at the firewall. The fuel primer control was unlocked and extend about 1/4 inch from the closed position. The mixture control and throttle were at or near the full forward position. About 10 to 15 gallons of fuel were recovered from the airplane. About 10 gallons were estimated by state environmental responders to have spilled on the ground. The fuel had a blue tint; however, it had an odor consistent with automotive fuel.

The engine was examined by an NTSB Investigator at a salvage facility. The engine was rotated manually using a tool attached to an accessory drive gear. Thumb compression and suction was obtained on all four cylinders. Crankshaft and valvetrain continuity were observed. Both magnetos produced spark on all towers when rotated.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. The pilot was issued an FAA Basic medical certificate on May 14, 2019. At the time of his prior third-class medical certificate on June 29, 2015, he reported a total of 105 hours of flight experience.

The 0756 weather conditions reported at Northeast Florida Regional Airport (SGJ), St. Augustine, Florida located 18 miles northeast of the accident site included temperature 26° C, dew point 24° C, and wind from 250° at 3 knots.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N7833D
Model/Series: PA22 150
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
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: KSGJ, 10 ft msl
Observation Time: 0756 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 18 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 24°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 250°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Hastings, FL (13FA)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 29.693333, -81.506944 (est)

A single-engine plane crashed upside down in Hastings, Florida Sunday morning and both occupants of the plane miraculously survived, according to the St. Johns County County Sheriff's Office.

The crash occurred around 7:40 a.m. in the Southwest area of St. Johns County near Barrel Factory and Leonard Roads, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

On Your Side spoke to the woman who lives on the property where the crash happened. She declined to be interviewed, but she said she was gardening when she heard a loud noise and a "boom." She turned and saw one of the passengers calling for help from the door of the plane.

According to FHP,  62-year-old Joseph Linebach of Satsuma Florida was flying the Piper PA-22-150 Tri-Pacer when it experienced engine trouble shortly after takeoff. The plane then crashed into an oak tree at the edge of a cornfield landing upside down, they said.

Thomas Linebach of Satsuma Florida, 60, was also a passenger on the plane, FHP said.

"Prayers are going out to them," said neighbor Justin Brunner. "I wish the best for them. It's scary, for sure."

According to the St. Johns County Fire and Rescue Department, one person was transported via air ambulance to the trauma unit at Orange Park Medical Center with potentially life-threatening injuries. The second person was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, SJCFR said.

At this time, the condition of each person has not been released.

On Your Side spoke to local aviation expert John Slate to ask about the crash. Slate said the outcome could have been far worse.

"[The plane] got hit back behind the seats. It would have killed them if it would have hit the door or the nose," Slate said.

In a photo posted by the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, hydraulic fluid can be seen leaked out onto one of the plane's wings.

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