Friday, July 12, 2019

Unknown or Undetermined: Piper PA-34-200, N2930Y; accident occurred July 10, 2019 at Willow Run Airport (KYIP), Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County, Michigan

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

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


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

https://registry.faa.gov/N2930Y

Location: Ypsilanti, MI
Accident Number: CEN19LA217
Date & Time: 07/10/2019, 1527 EDT
Registration: N2930Y
Aircraft: Piper PA34
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Unknown or undetermined
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation  

Analysis

The commercial pilot was preparing for a checkride with a flight instructor in a multiengine airplane. While taking off for a fifth touch-and-go landing, the pilot retracted the flaps, increased the power, and raised the airplane's nose about 3° to 5°. The instructor stated that, as the airplane lifted and weight was removed from the landing gear, the gear appeared to retract. Subsequently, the airplane began to settle back on the runway, the right wing and propeller impacted the runway, and the right engine lost power. The airplane then banked right, and the instructor then assisted the pilot by retarding the throttle, leveling the wings, and lowering the nose. The airplane slid and came to rest on its belly off the right side of the runway, which resulted in substantial damage to the right wing and the fuselage.

The landing gear doors did not exhibit any damage. The tires were fully retracted into their respective wheel well with no abnormal markings or signs of damage that would be consistent with a landing gear collapse. The airplane was placed on jacks with the landing gear still retracted. When electrical power was applied, the gear extended as designed. The landing gear selector was then placed in the "up" position several times, and each time, the landing gear retracted in about 6 seconds. The examination revealed no evidence of any preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Following the accident, neither pilot could recall the position of the landing gear during the takeoff. The instructor stated that he was unable to see the landing gear selector during the flight. According to the Pilot's Operating Manual, the landing gear can only retract when the landing gear selector is in the "up" position and the oleo strut is extended more than 8 inches. A microswitch incorporated into the throttle quadrant will activate a warning horn if the landing gear selector is in the "up" position when the airplane is on the ground. Neither pilot reported hearing this warning horn. Therefore, it is unlikely that the landing gear selector was placed in the "up" position when the airplane was still on the ground. Given this evidence, it is likely that the pilot prematurely moved the landing gear selector to the "up" position, which allowed the landing gear to retract before a positive climb rate was established, and the lack of a positive climb rate, which led to the airplane settling back on the runway with the gear retracted. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's premature movement of the landing gear selector to the "up" position during takeoff, which allowed the landing gear to retract before a positive climb rate was established, and the lack of a positive climb rate, which led to the airplane settling back on the runway with the gear retracted.

Findings

Aircraft
Landing gear selector - Incorrect use/operation (Cause)

Personnel issues
Incorrect action selection - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information 

On July 10, 2019, about 1527 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-34 airplane, N2930Y, sustained substantial damage during landing at Willow Run Airport (KYIP), Ypsilanti, Michigan. The airplane was registered to IXI, LLC and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight when the accident occurred. The commercial pilot and certified flight instructor (CFI) sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed the Pontiac airport (KPTK) about 1430.

According to the pilot, he was practicing touch-and-go landings when the accident occurred. He stated that after several instrument approaches, with the last being at KYIP, they did about four touch and go landings on runway 23R. On the last one (accident flight) he said the approach and flight around the traffic pattern was normal. On the downwind leg, when abeam the mid-point of the runway, the landing gear was selected down, with three green lights illuminating. When they were abeam the runway numbers, they added 10° of flaps and increased that to 25° on the base leg. The pilot said that due to winds, he told the CFI he was only going to land with 25° of flaps. As the airplane crossed the runway numbers, the engine power was reduced to idle with an airspeed of about 90 mph. He said he tried to hold the airplane off the runway as long as he could and touched down on the 1,000ft runway marker. He classified the touchdown as "smooth", did not hear the stall warning horn and did not feel any bangs or bumps. He said that after touchdown they rolled about 1,000ft down the runway while retracting flaps to the 0°position by using the flap control lever located on the floor between the seats. After retracting the flaps, he applied full power to initiate the takeoff and shortly thereafter, he recalled the CFI saying something to him, but he could not remember what was said, and noticed the right wing "digging into the grass." The pilot was unable to remember the position of the landing gear handle prior to the initiation of the accident sequence.

The airplane came to rest on its belly off the right side of the runway, sustaining substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. Both propellers exhibited signs consistent with the production of power. The aft portion of the fuselage was buckled with signatures of oil canning. The right wing was bent upward, consistent with spar damage. All three landing gear doors were absent of damage. The tires were fully retracted into their respective wheel wells with no abnormal markings or signs of damage. The right flap rail exhibited damage (flat filing) consistent with pavement contact. There was no trailing edge damage to the flap. The angle of the damage to the flap rail was consistent with the flaps being fully retracted at the time of impact.

In a written statement provided by the CFI, he wrote that a normal roundout and flare was performed with a normal landing on the centerline of runway 23R. After touchdown, the airplane slowed to about 30 mph, the flaps were fully retracted and full throttle was applied. He said that as the airplane began to generate lift, and the weight was removed from the landing gear, the gear appeared to retract and the right wing and propeller made contact with the runway, stopping the right engine. He stated that after engine stoppage, the pilot applied back pressure to the yoke and the airplane began gaining altitude before starting a bank to the right. At this time, he (CFI) retarded the throttles and pushed the nose of the airplane down, while leveling the wings. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground and slid to a stop. After immediately exiting the airplane, he went back inside to retrieve personal effects and noticed the landing gear control handle in the "down" position.

When asked to describe the accident flight in as much detail as possible, the CFI stated that when abeam mid-field on the downwind leg, the landing gear was extended and three green lights were observed, indicating the landing gear was down and locked. He said the power was reduced to 15" manifold pressure, the propellers were put to the full forward position, mixture was set to rich and flaps were set to 10°. When the airplane was abeam the landing point, a normal descent was initiated. When on the base leg of the traffic pattern, the flaps were increased to 25° and a landing check was conducted which confirmed the mixture was full rich, propellers were full forward and the three landing gear position indicator lights were illuminated green. After alignment with the runway centerline, a final landing check was completed which again confirmed the landing gear was down and locked. "Upon assurance of a safe landing," the flaps were set to 40° and an approach speed of 105 mph was flown.

The CFI stated that he was unable to see the position of the landing gear handle from the right seat when the pilot-in-command's (PIC) hand was on the throttle quadrant. While taking off, once the airspeed reached 85 mph, he transitioned his attention from inside the cockpit to outside the cockpit. He said that due to the noise from the engines and the use of a noise cancelling headset, it was his belief that it was not possible to hear the hydraulic pump running.

According to the Piper Seneca Pilot's Operating Manual, the landing gear can only retract when the gear handle is in the "up" position and the oleo strut is extended in excess of eight inches. When this extension occurs, the safety switch that precludes gear retraction when the airplane is on the ground closes, to complete the circuit, so the hydraulic pump can raise the landing gear when the gear selector handle is moved to the "UP" position. A micro switch is incorporated into the throttle quadrant that will activate a warning horn if the landing gear selector is in the "UP" position when the airplane is on the ground. Neither pilot stated that they heard this warning horn.

The operating manual contains procedures for normal, short field and soft field takeoffs. All three procedures state that the landing gear should be retracted when a gear-down landing is no longer possible on the runway. The normal takeoff procedure states: "When obstacle clearance is no problem, a normal takeoff may be used. Accelerate to 80-85 mph and ease back on the wheel enough to let the airplane lift off. After lift-off, accelerate to the best rate of climb speed (105 mph) or higher if desired, retracting the landing gear when a gear-down landing is no longer possible on the runway."

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3B) states in part: "Once a positive rate of climb is established, the pilot should retract the flaps and landing gear (if equipped)."

When the airplane was removed from the grass, it was placed on a trailer with the landing gear still retracted. On July 16, the airplane was placed on jacks and electrical power was applied, the gear subsequently extended as designed. The handle was then placed in the "UP" position and the landing gear retracted in about 6 seconds. This procedure was repeated with the same results. The jacks were removed, and the airplane remained on its landing gear. During the examination, no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operation.

History of Flight

Takeoff
Miscellaneous/other
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Loss of control on ground

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 64, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/27/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/21/2019
Flight Time:  1793.2 hours (Total, all aircraft), 24.5 hours (Total, this make and model), 1683.4 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 29.8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 18.9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1.6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 54, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/15/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/06/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1725 hours (Total, all aircraft), 109 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N2930Y
Model/Series: PA34 200
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1974
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 34-7450099
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3999 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: IO360 SER A&C
Registered Owner: Ixi Llc
Rated Power:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 1953 UTC
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 4900 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Wind Direction: 190°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.92 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 33°C / 22°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Ypsilanti, MI (YIP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Ypsilanti, MI (YIP)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time:  EDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Willow Run (YIP)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 715 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 23R
IFR Approach:None 
Runway Length/Width: 5996 ft / 160 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Touch and Go

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 42.239167, -83.532500 (est)

Location: Ypsilanti, MI
Accident Number: CEN19LA217
Date & Time: 07/10/2019, 1527 EDT
Registration: N2930Y
Aircraft: Piper PA34
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - 

On July 10, 2019, about 1527 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-34 airplane, N2930Y, sustained substantial damage during landing at Willow Run airport, Ypsilanti, Michigan. The airplane was registered to IXI, LLC and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight when the accident occurred. The commercial pilot and certified flight instructor (CFI) sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed the Pontiac airport (KPTK) about 1430.

According to the pilot, he was practicing touch and go landings when the accident occurred. He stated that after several instrument approaches, with the last being at Willow Run, they did about four touch and go landings on runway 23R. On the last one (accident flight) he said the approach and flight around the traffic pattern was normal. On the downwind leg, when abeam the ½ point of the runway, the landing gear was selected down, with three green lights illuminating. When they were abeam the runway numbers, they added 10° of flaps and increased that to 25° on the base leg. The pilot said that due to winds, he told the CFI he was only going to land with 25° of flaps. As the airplane crossed the runway numbers, the engine power was reduced to idle with an airspeed of about 90 mph. He said he tried to hold the airplane off the runway as long as he could and touched down on the 1,000ft runway marker. He classified the touchdown as "smooth", did not hear the stall warning horn and did not feel any bangs or bumps. He said that after touchdown they rolled about 1,000ft down the runway while retracting flaps to the 0°position by using the flap control lever located on the floor between the seats. After retracting the flaps, he applied full power to initiate the takeoff and shortly thereafter, he recalled the CFI saying something to him, but he could not remember what was said, and noticed the right wing "digging into the grass." The pilot was unable to remember the position of the landing gear handle prior to the initiation of the accident sequence.

The airplane came to rest on its belly off the right side of the runway, sustaining substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. Both propellers exhibited signs consistent with the production of power. The aft portion of the fuselage was buckled with signatures of oil canning. The right wing was bent upward, consistent with spar damage. All three landing gear doors were absent of damage. The tires were fully retracted into their respective wheel well with no abnormal markings or signs of damage. The right flap rail exhibited damage (flat filing) consistent with pavement contact. There was no trailing edge damage to the flap. The angle of the damage to the flap rail was consistent with the flaps being fully retracted at the time of impact.

In a written statement provided by the CFI, he wrote that a normal roundout and flare was performed with a normal landing on the centerline of runway 23R. After touchdown, the airplane slowed to about 30 mph, the flaps were fully retracted and full throttle was applied. He said that as the airplane began to generate lift, and the weight was removed from the landing gear, the gear appeared to retract and the right wing and propeller made contact with the runway, stopping the right engine. He stated that after engine stoppage, the pilot applied back pressure to the yoke and the airplane began gaining altitude before starting a bank to the right. At this time, he (CFI) retarded the throttles and pushed the nose of the airplane down, while leveling the wings. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground and slid to a stop. After immediately exiting the airplane, he went back inside to retrieve personal effects and noticed the landing gear control handle in the "down" position.

According to the Piper Seneca Pilot's Operating Manual, the landing gear can only retract when the gear handle is in the "up" position and the oleo strut is extended in excess of eight inches. When this extension occurs, the safety switch that precludes gear retraction when the airplane is on the ground closes, to complete the circuit, so the hydraulic pump can raise the landing gear when the gear switch is moved to the "UP" position.

When the airplane was removed from the grass, it was placed on a trailer with the landing gear still retracted. On July 16, the airplane was placed on jacks and electrical power was applied, the gear subsequently extended as designed. The handle was then placed in the "UP" position and the landing gear retracted in about 4 seconds. This procedure was repeated with the same results. The jacks were removed, and the airplane remained on its landing gear.

The density altitude at the time of the event was about 3,268ft.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N2930Y
Model/Series: PA34 200
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time: 1953 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point: 33°C / 22°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 190°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 4900 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.92 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Ypsilanti, MI (YIP)
Destination: Ypsilanti, MI (YIP)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 42.239167, -83.532500 (est)

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