Friday, December 20, 2019

Fire (Non-Impact): Piper PA-28-181 Archer II, N8384E; accident occurred September 11, 2019 at Colorado Springs Airport (KCOS), El Paso County, Colorado

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Accident Number: CEN19LA314
Date & Time: 09/11/2019, 1315 MDT
Registration: N8384E
Aircraft: Piper PA28
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fire/smoke (non-impact)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On September 11, 2019, at 1315 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-28-181 airplane, N8384E, experienced a left main landing gear fire during landing rollout at City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (COS), Colorado Springs, Colorado. The commercial pilot and a passenger were uninjured, and the airplane left wing sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to G & M Aircraft Inc, used as a rental airplane by Rocky Mountain Flight School, and was operated by the pilot under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight originated from Tradewind Airport (TDW), Amarillo, Texas, at 1131 central daylight time, and was destined to COS.

The pilot stated he landed the airplane on runway 35R and taxied off at E5. He was cleared by air traffic control (ATC) to taxi to general aviation via taxiways E and H and cleared to cross runway 35L. He said that being unfamiliar with the airport, he taxied north on taxiway E. He said ATC asked him to pick up the pace, if able, and he responded that he could make room ahead if needed. He stated that as the airplane exited taxiway E onto H, near taxiway P, he noticed the brakes were no longer available. He tried the emergency brake [parking brake], but it was unresponsive. He planned on performing "zig-zags" to slow the airplane down enough to make right turn onto the next taxiway and to perform 360° turns, if he needed to stop the airplane since the ramp looked clear. When he tried two shallow zig-zags to slow the airplane down, he heard a loud bang and the airplane veered left. He stomped on the rudder which had little effect and it seemed not even about second later when he heard the passenger yell "fire." When he exited the airplane, he saw that the left main landing gear was on fire. The pilot stated that there was a mechanical malfunction/failure of the brakes.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector assigned to the accident investigation, the pilot stated in his initial conversation with the FAA inspector that he probably rode the airplane brakes longer than he should have, but later stated that it was a normal landing and he hardly touched the brakes.

The airplane brake system consisted of toe brakes on each rudder pedal with brake cylinders for each toe brake. The left toe brake master cylinder independently controlled the left main landing gear wheel brake, and the right toe brake master cylinder independently controlled the right main landing gear wheel brake. The parking brake cylinder simultaneously controlled the left and right main landing gear wheels.

Post-accident examinations by a FAA inspector and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Investigator-in-Charge (IIC) revealed the presence of fire damage that extended from the left main landing gear wheel brake assembly to the left wing structure and thermal damage from the right main wheel brake assembly. There were no mechanical anomalies of the airplane brake system that would have precluded normal operation.

Post-accident examination of the airplane brakes by the NTSB IIC, revealed that all the rudder pedal brake cylinders and the parking brake cylinder were attached and secure. When the rudder pedal brakes and parking brake were exercised using hand pressure applied to the rudder pedals and parking brake control, there was no binding in movement of the their respective actuator springs, and all the springs returned to their uncompressed positions each time the brakes and parking brake were exercised. There were no mechanical anomalies of the airplane brake system that would have precluded normal operation.

The FAA's Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3B), Chapter 2, Ground Operations, stated in part:

"A safe taxiing speed must be maintained. The primary requirements for safe taxiing are positive control, the ability to recognize any potential hazards in time to avoid them, and the ability to stop or turn where and when desired, without undue reliance on the brakes. Pilots should proceed at a cautious speed on congested or busy ramps. Normally, the speed should be at the rate where movement of the airplane is dependent on the throttle. That is, slow enough so when the throttle is closed, the airplane can be stopped promptly."

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Private
Age: 33, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/30/2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/14/2019
Flight Time:   407 hours (Total, all aircraft), 242 hours (Total, this make and model), 270 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 15 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 14 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N8384E
Model/Series: PA28 181
Aircraft Category:Airplane 
Year of Manufacture: 1981
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility
Serial Number: 28-8190236
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/09/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2550 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5052 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A1D
Registered Owner: G & M Aircraft Inc
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: Pilot
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Does Business As: Rocky Mountain Flight School
Operator Designator Code: 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: COS, 6187 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1302 MDT
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 8500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 20 knots / 26 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 200°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Amarillo, TX (TDW)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Colorado Springs, CO (COS)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1131 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class C

Airport Information

Airport: City of Colorado Springs Munic (COS)
Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 6187 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 35R
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 13501 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 38.805833, -104.700833 (est)

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