Sunday, September 01, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Piper PA-32-300, N33354; accident occurred September 07, 2018 at Northwest Regional Airport (52F), Roanoke, Denton 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; North Texas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Roanoke, TX
Accident Number: CEN18LA377
Date & Time: 09/07/2018, 2103 CDT
Registration: N33354
Aircraft: Piper PA32
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 Minor, 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 7, 2018, about 2103 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32 airplane, N33354, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Roanoke, Texas. The pilot and two passenger sustained minor injuries, two passengers were not injured, and one passenger sustained serious injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and was en route to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT), Gulfport, Mississippi.

According to the pilot, the airplane's engine started without hesitation or issue and the engine run-up, prior to takeoff was normal with no discrepancy in the magneto drop or instrument indications. Shortly after takeoff from runway 35 "the engine failed" and the pilot was not able to maintain altitude. He stated that the stall horn sounded, and he elected to land straight ahead. The airplane impacted the ground and came to rest at the base of several trees and bushes; both wings separated from the airplane and the fuselage came to rest on its left side.

The pilot stated that after the accident he turned the fuel selector valve, the fuel pump, and the ignition switch to the "off" position.

An examination of the engine revealed that the lower set of spark plugs and the upper right set of spark plugs exhibited worn out – severe signatures and normal to worn out signatures respectively when compared to the Champion Check-a-Plug chart. An engine test run was conducted. With the wings separated, the fuselage was strapped down to a trailer. The damaged propeller was removed, and a replacement propeller was installed. Additionally, a fuel can was connected to the electric driven fuel pump and a fuel line was then run to the engine driven fuel pump. Several attempts were made at starting the engine; however, after the lower spark plugs were replaced, the engine started without hesitation and ran at various power settings. The engine would not run when the right magneto was selected. An examination of the right magneto revealed that the coil had failed.

The airplane was equipped with a JPI 900. Engine parameters downloaded from the unit illustrated expected exhaust gas temperatures and cylinder head temperatures consistent with the engine start, an engine run-up, and the increase in power for takeoff. The data also illustrated the increase in oil temperature, manifold pressure, rpm, and fuel flow, also consistent with the engine start, an engine run-up, and the increase in power for takeoff. The engine rpm and fuel flow drop off about 20 seconds before the end of the recording.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 42, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/01/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/31/2018
Flight Time:  441 hours (Total, all aircraft), 115 hours (Total, this make and model), 34 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N33354
Model/Series: PA32 300
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1975
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 32-7540095
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/11/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 6985.45 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-K-1AS
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 310 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: AFW, 723 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 0153 UTC
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 6500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 14000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 360°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.96 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 23°
Precipitation and Obscuration: Light - Rain
Departure Point: Roanoke, TX (52F)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Glufport, MS (GPT)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 2100 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class E 

Airport Information

Airport: Aero Valley Airport (52F)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 643 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Vegetation
Runway Used: 35
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3500 ft / 40 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor, 2 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 Minor, 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  33.051111, -97.231944 (est)


  1. Pilot did the right thing by landing straight ahead once the engine failed. By flying it as far into the crash as possible he gave everyone the best chance of survival. Too bad better maintenance couldn't have prevented the accident in the first place.

  2. Flying is expensive ... You have to save a nickel everywhere you can ... Get every last spark out of every plug that you can.

    I'm sure if anyone asked, the owner/operator would tell you how well he maintained the plane.

    Hope for quick and full recoveries.