Saturday, September 28, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Piper PA-32R-301T Saratoga II TC, N9284; accident occurred March 27, 2015 near Stephenville Clark Regional Airport (KSEP), Erath County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Irving, Texas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Stephenville, TX
Accident Number: CEN15LA206
Date & Time: 03/27/2015, 0910 CDT
Registration: N9284
Aircraft: PIPER PA 32R-301T
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On March 27, 2015, approximately 0910 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-301T airplane, N9284, registered to the pilot, was substantially damaged following a forced landing after a loss of engine power shortly after departing from Stephenville Clark Regional Airport (SEP), Stephenville, Texas. Both occupants, the private pilot and one passenger, sustained serious injuries. The flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed from SEP about 0905 and its intended destination was Wharton Regional Airport (ARM), Wharton, Texas.

The pilot reported on NTSB Form 6120, that when he took off from runway 32 at SEP, the airplane lost power at pattern altitude. The engine surged, and he realized that there was "something not right." Immediately, he checked the fuel switch and confirmed that the fuel pump was on. He attempted to turn to a left downwind in order to make a downwind landing at SEP. He extended the landing gear and flaps, and the engine surged an additional 2 or 3 times. The engine then shut down completely, south of the runway, about 300 ft agl. The pilot stated that the wind had picked up since take off, and that it was impossible to land on his target runway, so he retracted the landing gear and flaps. His biggest concern was the amount of fuel on board. He determined that the safest place to land was straight ahead on highway 67, so as the airplane descended below the trees, he extended the landing gear and flaps for landing on the roadway. The pilot stated that the airplane contacted a power line, and the right wing struck tree branches. The airplane landed on its right main gear and flipped over.

Several witnesses, who were driving vehicles on highway 67, reported observing the airplane descending toward the roadway and contact trees and power lines, before colliding with the ground on the side of the roadway. One witness reported seeing a man taking two dogs out of the airplane wreckage. First responders arrived at the accident scene and the occupants were transported to a local hospital.

The reported weather at SEP at the time of the accident was clear skies and winds from 240-degrees at 9 knots. The temperature was 13-degrees C and the dewpoint 0-degrees C, and the barometric pressure was 30.19 inches. SEP did not have a control tower and there were no recorded radio communications.

The airplane wreckage was recovered from the accident site and transported to a hangar facility at SEP. Under the supervision of an FAA inspector, airframe, engine, and propeller examinations were conducted on April 13, 2015.

During the examination of the airframe, observed airframe damage was consistent with impact forces, and no pre-impact mechanical anomalies were observed. Flight control continuity was established, and the airframe fuel system was inspected. Fuel samples taken from the airplane showed blue colored fuel consistent with 100LL. The fuel samples were checked using Kolor Kut, and no water was noted. The airframe fuel filter was clean and free of blockage. A detailed summary of the airframe examination is included in the public docket.

During the examination of the engine, external damage observed was consistent with impact forces. No pre-impact mechanical anomalies were observed, with the exception of the left magneto. Both magnetos were found secure on their mounts. They were removed and the right magneto was rotated using an electric drill and furnished spark at all terminal outlet points. When the left magneto was rotated, the impulse coupling was heard snapping, but the unit did not furnish spark at the terminal outlet points. The fuel injector was impact separated at the throttle plate. All control cables were intact and connected. The fuel injector inlet screen was observed free of contaminates. Fuel was observed throughout the fuel system. Samples were taken and tested using Kolor Kut, and no water was found. The engine was rotated using a turning tool inserted into the vacuum pump pad. Thumb suction and compression was obtained on all cylinders. Valve train and crankshaft continuity was confirmed, and the accessory gears rotated. All cylinders were examined using a lighted bore scope with no defects noted. A detailed summary of the engine examination is included in the public docket.

During the examination of the propeller assembly, external damage was consistent with impact forces. No pre-impact anomalies were observed. The propeller remained secure to the engine. The propeller blades were marked A, B and C for reference. Blade A was twisted opposite of rotation and bent about 90-degrees aft near mid span. The leading edge displayed abrasion, dents, chordwise surface scratches and the paint was worn away. Blade B was twisted opposite of rotation and bent aft about 60-degrees near mid span. The leading edge was polished and abraded with dents and chordwise surface scratches. Blade C was twisted opposite of rotation and bent aft about 10-degrees. The leading edge displayed abrasion, dents, chordwise surface scratches and the paint was worn away. A detailed summary of the propeller examination is included in the public docket. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 33, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/26/2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/10/2014
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 119 hours (Total, all aircraft), 20 hours (Total, this make and model), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N9284
Model/Series: PA 32R-301T 301T
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2001
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 3257219
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/20/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3615 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1333.9 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: TIO-540-S1AD
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 350 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: SEP, 1321 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0914 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 180°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 280°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.19 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 0°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Stephenville, TX (SEP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Wharton, TX (ARM)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0905
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Stephenville Clark Regional (SEP)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 1321 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Vegetation
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

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: 32.218611, -98.181111 (est)

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