Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Course Deviation: Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage, C-GRFF; accident occurred July 25, 2018 at Columbia Metropolitan Airport (KCAE), West Columbia, Lexington County, South Carolina

Photograph of damage on accident airplane from striking stop sign.

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; West Columbia, South Carolina

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Photograph of involved stop sign on service drive.

Location: West Columbia, SC
Accident Number: ERA18LA213
Date & Time: 07/25/2018, 1341 EDT
Registration: C-GRFF
Aircraft: Piper PA46
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Course deviation
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On July 25, 2018, at 1341 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-46 350P, C-GRFF, was substantially damaged during collision with a stop sign while taxiing onto a service road at Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) West Columbia, South Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, the CAE ground controller was providing progressive taxi instructions and asked the controller if he should "turn left here at the D6" taxiway and was told "to do so." After turning, the underside of the airplane's left wing struck a "low" stop sign.

Examination of an aerial images and photos of the area where the airplane struck the stop sign revealed that the airplane was taxiing from an aircraft parking ramp area toward a perpendicular taxiway (Delta). A vehicle service road ran parallel to taxiway Delta, and both were intersected by taxiway Delta 6 (see Figure 1). A centerline was painted on the ramp area that transitioned through taxiway Delta 6 and onto taxiway Delta. There was no taxiway centerline painted on the service road. The stop sign was located in a grassy area adjacent to the service road.

Figure 1 – Annotated aerial photograph of the area where the airplane was taxiing.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. His third-class medical certificate was issued September 19, 2016, and he reported 985 total hours of flight experience, 200 hours of which was in the accident airplane make and model.

At 1356, the weather recorded at CAE included scattered cloud layers at 3,900 feet and 5,000 feet, a broken ceiling at 25,000 feet and winds from 260 degrees at 7 knots. The temperature was 31°C, and the dew point was 22°C. The altimeter setting was 29.89 inches of mercury.

Examination of photographs revealed that the left wing sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical deficiencies with the airplane that would have prevented normal operation.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 60, 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: 09/19/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  985 hours (Total, all aircraft), 200 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: C-GRFF
Model/Series: PA46 350P
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 4636617
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/06/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 4339 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 42 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 383 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: TIO-540-AE2A
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: KCAE, 225 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1756 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 21°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3900 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 25000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 260°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.89 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 22°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Moderate - In the Vicinity - Thunderstorms - No Precipitation
Departure Point: West Columbia, SC (CAE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Collingwood, ON (CNY3)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time:  EDT
Type of Airspace: Class C

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 236 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 33.938889, -81.119444 (est)

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