Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Piper PA-46-310P Malibu, N4385K: Accident occurred October 04, 2019 near Harrisburg International Airport (KMDT), Pennsylvania

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

Additional Participating Entities: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

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


Location: Harrisburg, PA

Accident Number: ERA20LA011
Date & Time: 10/04/2019, 1713 EDT
Registration: N4385K
Aircraft: Piper PA46
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On October 4, 2019, at 1713 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA46-310P, N4385K, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to the Susquehanna River following a total loss of engine power while on approach to the Harrisburg International Airport (MDT), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The private pilot and a passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the personal flight which originated at the Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC), about 1600, and was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

In a written statement, the pilot stated he conducted a "thorough" preflight inspection and had the airplane serviced with 30 gallons of 100LL gasoline. He estimated that the 122-gallon fuel system contained 77 gallons of fuel at departure.

The pilot described the flight as "unremarkable." He said that he flew an extended right downwind leg of the traffic pattern, turned and intercepted the final approach course, and was cleared for the visual approach to runway 31 by the MDT tower controller. The pilot said he referenced the course and glideslope indications for the instrument landing system ILS RWY 31 approach during the descent.

According to the pilot, "I had the ILS loaded and was tracking the final approach course and glide slope as I dropped the gear. I added the first notch of flaps and the engine cut out. I pitched for best glide speed as I tried to restart the engine, advanced the power, and switched fuel tanks, none of which worked. We were losing altitude quickly. I retracted the gear and prepared for a water landing. I advised the tower that we were not going to make the runway. I would estimate that we touched down 1-2 miles from the runway."

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical certificate was issued June 10, 2019. The pilot reported 1,502 total hours of flight experience, of which 433 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1984 and was powered by a Continental TSIO 550C 310-horsepower engine. Its most recent annual inspection was completed March 1, 2019 at 5,085 total aircraft hours, and the airplane had accrued 20 hours since that date.

The engine had accrued 2,381.7 hours of total time, of which 74.7 hours were since major overhaul.

Examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane was intact, but that the fuselage was deformed aft of the cabin door. Both wings were cut at their roots by recovery personnel. Prior to removal of the wings, each wing was drained of fuel and water. The left wing contained 12.5 gallons of fuel and 10 gallons of water. The right wing contained 17 gallons of fuel and 15 gallons of water.

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the flight controls to all flight control surfaces. Fuel system continuity was confirmed from the roots of each wing to the fuel metering unit. Electrical power was applied to the fuel boost pumps in each wing, and both operated when energized.

The engine spark plugs were removed from the top of each cylinder. Each spark plug displayed normal wear and evidence of exposure to water. The engine was rotated by hand at the propeller; both magneto impulse couplings "snapped," and spark was produced at the ignition leads of the top six spark plugs.

The engine retained for further examination.

At 1656, the weather recorded at MDT included few clouds at 5,000 ft and wind from 010° at 9 knots gusting to 22 knots. Visibility was 10 statute miles, the temperature was 17°C, and the dew point was 6°C. The altimeter setting was 30.21 inches of mercury.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N4385K
Model/Series: PA46 310P
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:
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMDT, 312 ft msl
Observation Time: 2056 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 5000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots / 22 knots, 10°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.21 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Rochester, NY (ROC)
Destination: Harrisburg, PA (MDT)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 40.176111, -76.726944 (est)

As investigators figure out what went wrong that led to a small plane ending up in the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg International Airport late Friday afternoon, others are scratching their heads over another predicament it creates: How to get the aircraft back on dry land.

“Obviously this is a very unusual circumstance,” said Tim Edwards, executive director of the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority. “It’s going to be a complicated aircraft recovery.”

Throughout the day Saturday, the Piper PA-46 remained in the water about 200 feet off the shoreline between Lower Swatara Township, Middletown and Royalton, two miles upstream from Three Mile Island. Edwards said the plane is stable and wedged between some rocks on the riverbed in water that a witness estimated was only about 3-feet deep.

The options to remove the plane from the river are limited given its distance from the shore, Edwards said.

“We may have to get a sky crane, which his a heavy lift helicopter to pull it out of the water and move it over to the shore," he said. "Now that’s a possibility. Those things take time to schedule of course. Those are very limited resources. They may be other options as well that I’m not aware of.”

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said the plane’s owner will be responsible for moving the plane. Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission executive director Timothy Schaeffer said the commission was notified that one of its accesses to the river might need to be used in that effort. The commission also was told the fire company was marking the area around the plane for navigational purposes.

The aircraft, carrying a pilot and passenger aboard, left the Greater Rochester International Airport on Friday afternoon headed toward Harrisburg International Airport when the plane landed short of the runway around 5:15 p.m. likely due to engine failure, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and Edwards.

A liveatc.net audio of communications between a Harrisburg International Airport air traffic controller and the pilot indicated the plane was cleared to land on Runway 31. Then a few minutes later, the pilot said "we’re not going to make it. "

The names of the pilot and passenger have not been released. One of them suffered a minor injury and was treated at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Edwards said. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating. The Piper PA-46-310P Malibu is owned by Barjack Aviation LLC of Islamorada, Florida.

He said little more will be known about the cause of the accident and any environmental concerns it may have caused to the river until the aircraft is out of the water although he noted the aircraft’s body did remain intact.

Jonathan Witman was inside his Middletown home watching the news around the time the plane hit the water. He said a woman and her daughter knocked at his door and told him “something about a plane in the river. They didn’t have cell phones on them or anything. So I ran out and jumped on the boat."

He headed toward the plane running his jon boat’s throttle wide open to rush to help the man and woman who climbed onto the plane’s wing. He was the first to arrive. Witman said the woman was shaken up and sobbing as she climbed into his boat. River Rescue pulled up behind his boat and rescued the pilot.

“I never would have guessed I would have seen a plane in the river like that, let alone going and getting the people off of it,” Witman said. “I hope I never see this again, actually.”

The Harrisburg office of the Federal Aviation Administration will handle the investigation, Peters said. “it will be up to them to complete as expeditiously as possible but we do take a go-slow attitude. It’s a slow process to make sure we cover everything that we need to.”

Until that report is finalized, he said the Federal Aviation Administration will not be releasing any further information about the incident.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.pennlive.com

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pennsylvania -- A small single-engine plane went into the Susquehanna River Friday after landing short of a runway at Harrisburg International Airport, according to Scott Miller, a spokesperson for the airport.

Miller said there were two people on board the plane and they're OK.

It's not known if Harrisburg International Airport was the original destination.

The Federal Aviation Administration released the following statement:

A Piper PA-46 is in shallow water in the Susquehanna River after landing short of Runway 31 at Harrisburg International Airport in Pennsylvania about 5:30 p.m. today. The two people aboard exited the aircraft onto a wing. Check with local authorities on their condition. The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate.

Dispatch said the call came in around 5:10 p.m. and crews are just south of Three Mile Island in Lower Swatara Township.

“I ran out and saw the plane in the river and the pilot was on the wing waving his hands," said Jonathan Witman, witness.

Officials say both victims made it to safety with minor injuries and are being treated at Hershey Medical Center.

The cause of the crash is still unclear.

"We have no idea at this time other than it was an engine failure and that the aircraft could not make it to the runway and had to land in the river," said Tim Edwards, Executive Director, Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority, Harrisburg International Airport.

Story and video ➤ https://fox43.com

1 comment:

  1. Plane was still sitting there in shallow water of the river on 11 October, seems like the owner could arrange for the local Sea Tow boat recovery operator to connect inflatable lift bladders and get the plane raised high enough for towing to shore or a boatyard for haul out. Sea Tow does that type of re-float routinely for sunk boats.