Saturday, December 07, 2019

Loss of Control in Flight: Piper PA-32R-300 Lance, N9894K; accident occurred August 12, 2018 in South Beloit, Winnebago County, Illinois

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; DuPage, Illinois

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: South Beloit, IL
Accident Number: CEN18LA328
Date & Time: 08/12/2018, 0832 CDT
Registration: N9894K
Aircraft: Piper PA32R
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On August 12, 2018, about 0832 central daylight time, a Piper PA32R airplane, N9894K, impacted terrain near South Beloit, Illinois after departing from Beloit Airport (44C), Beloit, Wisconsin. The pilot and one passenger suffered minor injuries, one passenger suffered serious injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to DBG Aviation Inc. and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was destined for Baraboo–Wisconsin Dells Airport (DLL), Baraboo, Wisconsin.

After takeoff from runway 25, the pilot stated the engine cowling opened and begin to rapidly swing back and forth. Based on his concern the cowling might fracture the windshield and cause an injury, the pilot reduced power and considered landing straight ahead. Realizing he was too far down the runway to land, the pilot increased power and attempted to climb and return to the runway with a shallow left bank. The airplane developed a sink rate and impacted a cornfield about ½ mile off the end of the runway, damaging the engine mounts and fuselage. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal flight operations.

The pilot stated that he was very startled by the sudden and unexpected opening of the cowling, which distracted him from maintaining airspeed control. A Federal Aviation Administration Safety Team (FAAST) safety briefing titled "Startle Response", located in the public docket for this investigation, included the following information:

Humans are subject to a "startle response" when they are faced with unexpected emergency situations and may delay action or initiate inappropriate action in response to the emergency. Some examples of unexpected events during flight that could crop up and cause an emergency, or an accident if it is not managed properly, include:

• Partial/full loss of power on takeoff

• Landing gear extension/retraction failure

• Bird strike

• Cabin door opening

Train and plan for emergencies. In many cases, pilots don't review and practice how they will handle unexpected events and abnormal or emergency situations, except during flight reviews or other recurrent training.

"Chair Flying" - Unexpected events, especially those occurring close to the ground, require rapid, appropriate action. Your chances of a safe outcome are greatly improved if your response to an unexpected event is planned out ahead of time. Review "what if" scenarios in your head and practice what you would immediately do should a certain event take you by surprise. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 62, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
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 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/21/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/25/2018
Flight Time: 1593 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1235 hours (Total, this make and model), 4 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N9894K
Model/Series: PA32R 300
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1978
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 32R-7880041
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/14/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3600 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3414 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-540
Registered Owner: Dbg Aviation Inc
Rated Power: 300 hp
Operator: Dbg Aviation Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KJVL, 808 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0845 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 344°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  6 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A /
Altimeter Setting: 30.14 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Moderate - Mist; No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Beloit, WI (44C)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Baraboo, WI (DLL)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0831 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Beloit (44C)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 817 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 25
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3300 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 42.492222, -88.983611 (est)

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