Saturday, December 21, 2019

Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six, N3556W: Accident occurred July 06, 2019 near Seldovia Airport (PASO), Alaska

View of damage to the horizontal stabilizer.
 Federal Aviation Administration

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Seldovia, AK
Accident Number: GAA19CA387
Date & Time: 07/06/2019, 1905 AKD
Registration: N3556W
Aircraft: Piper PA32
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 5 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

The pilot reported that the airplane's takeoff gross weight was 300 pounds less than the maximum. He performed a short-field takeoff from the 1,800ft gravel surface, and the initial climb continued as he expected. He recalled that the climb performance degraded and became insufficient to clear the 80ft tall trees located about 1,000ft from the departure end of the runway. The manufacturer's Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) stated that, short field takeoff's that require obstacle clearance will, after breaking ground accelerate to best angle of climb speed, 95 MPH and climb past obstacles. The airplane collided with treetops, descended and subsequently impacted the lake and became submerged.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the stabilator.

Additionally, the POH denotes that the minimum runway distance required for the airplane to takeoff over a 50ft barrier was 1,360ft. According to the manufacturer, the minimum runway distance of 1,360ft represents a takeoff from a hard surface runway.

Further, the POH specifies the use of a soft-field, obstacle clearance takeoff, as the increase flap setting of 25°, airspeed acceleration and pull nose gear off the ground as soon as possible and at the lowest possible airspeed. Accelerate just above the ground to best angle of climb speed, 95 MPH to climb past obstacle clearance height. Continue to climb while accelerating to best rate of climb, 105 MPH while slowly retracting flaps.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 54, Male 
Airplane Rating(s): 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: BasicMed
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/01/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/03/2018
Flight Time:  1229 hours (Total, all aircraft), 671 hours (Total, this make and model), 1194 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 27 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N3556W
Model/Series: PA32 260
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1966
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 32-444
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/01/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 6643.47 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-540-E4B5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 260 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: PASO, 29 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0253 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 120°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.23 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 13°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Seldovia, AK (ASP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Wasilla, AK (AWS)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0705 AKD
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Seldovia (SOV)
Runway Surface Type: Gravel
Airport Elevation: 29 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Wet
Runway Used: 34
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 1845 ft / 80 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 4 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 5 None
Latitude, Longitude: 59.443889, -151.705000 (est)


  1. Dimensions: 1845 x 80 ft. / 562 x 24 m
    Surface: gravel, in good condition
    Runway edge markings: RYS 16 & 34 NSTD MKGS; RYS MKD WITH CONES.
    Latitude: 59-26.785333N 59-26.483167N
    Longitude: 151-42.281167W 151-42.323667W
    Traffic pattern: right left
    Markings: NSTD NSTD
    Obstructions: 220 ft. hill, 3300 ft. from runway, 15:1 slope to clear 213 ft. hill, 3885 ft. from runway, 100 ft. right of centerline, 18:1 slope to clear

  2. Another case of I was overloaded and trying to take off from a short strip and it wasn't my fault. 100% bad decision making from the PIC.