Sunday, December 29, 2019

Piper PA-32RT-300 Lance II, N27GB: Accident occurred December 28, 2019 near Asheville Regional Airport (KAVL), North Carolina

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina 
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location:Fletcher, NC 
Accident Number: ERA20LA062
Date & Time: 12/28/2019, 1735 EST
Registration: N27GB
Aircraft: Piper PA32RT
Injuries:5 None 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 28, 2019, about 1735 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-32RT-300, N27GB, was destroyed during an emergency landing in Fletcher, North Carolina, after it experienced a partial loss of engine power during the initial climb from Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), Asheville, North Carolina. The private pilot and four passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, that was destined for Cobb County International Airport-McCollum Field (RYY), Atlanta, Georgia.

According to the pilot, he departed from RYY earlier in the day with four family members and flew to AVL. The airplane had 86 gallons of fuel on board when it departed RYY. Prior to takeoff from AVL the pilot performed an engine runup and everything was normal. During taxi he was following a CRJ, and the air traffic control tower controller advised him of wake turbulence.

During the takeoff he rotated the airplane "a little early" at 75 knots to avoid the wake turbulence from the CRJ. He climbed at Vx (best angle of climb); then the airplane started to feel "sluggish." He checked that the mixture, propeller, and throttle controls were all full forward and "nosed" the airplane forward.

The pilot believed that the airplane experience an additional loss of engine power and thought he had enough altitude to turn back to the airport. He subsequently thought that the engine was "rolling back," noted that the oil pressure gauge was in the "yellow," and attempted to land in a parking lot. He kept the landing gear in the up position, extended the wing flaps and aimed between light poles. The right wing hit "something," and the airplane stopped. When he exited, his wife and the children were already out of the airplane.

Examination of photographs taken of the accident site and airplane revealed that the airplane struck a chain link fence, and an electrical distribution box before coming to rest. The majority of the airplane's cabin and aft fuselage had been consumed by a postcrash fire.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airmen and pilot records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multi-engine land, airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on February 1, 2015. He reported that he had accrued about 327 total hours of flight experience, 224 of which was in the accident airplane make and model.

According to FAA airworthiness and aircraft maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1978. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on May 6, 2019. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued about 4,082 total hours of operation, and the engine had accrued about 365 hours since major overhaul.

The recorded weather at AVL, at 1754, included wind 150 at 5 knots, visibility 9 miles, overcast ceiling at 10,000 ft, temperature 16° C, dew point 9° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.20 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N27GB
Model/Series: PA32RT 300
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: AVL, 2162 ft msl
Observation Time: 1754 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / 9°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 150°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 10000 ft agl
Visibility:  9 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.2 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Asheville, NC (AVL)
Destination: Atlanta, GA (RYY)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 4 None
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 5 None
Latitude, Longitude: 35.425000, -82.531944 (est)


BUNCOMBE COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) —  Multiple crews were on scene at the WNC Ag Center in Buncombe County Saturday, December 28th, 2019, after a small plane crashed after taking off from the Asheville Regional Airport.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Piper PA-32RT crashed approximately one-quarter mile east of airport as it was taking off from Runway 17.

Buncombe County authorities say five people were on the aircraft at the time of the crash. Thankfully, there were no major injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident.

Officials with the Asheville Regional Airport reported the incident did not happen on airport property but they did send help. They said the runway is fully operational. There are some flight delays at the time, but not necessarily connected to the crash.

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  1. A Lance II T-tail with five aboard. Depending on the PAX weight and how much fuel was on board however will be telling, especially with CG data. Years ago a retired airline pilot neighbor of mine had one of these and it was great on payload and utility. Fully fueled at 94 gallons it still has 1,000 pounds of useful payload. However, that T-tail had a lack of elevator authority at low airspeed. It took a lot of elevator play to get the nose to do what you needed it to do, much more than in a traditional low tail. It required full attention on takeoff and landing to keep from getting behind in low speed maneuvering - especially when near MTOW. Fortunately it appears the pilot found a large public lot to put down on with little obstacles to avoid. They were all extremely lucky. It will be interesting to read the preliminary of this.

  2. The Piper T tails were definetly a step backwards.

    Glad everyone got out ok.

  3. large open parking lot, approx 1,000 ft length just beyond 17/35 threshold left departure.