Thursday, December 12, 2019

Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II, N2822F: Accident occurred December 11, 2019 near Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (KDVT), Maricopa County, Arizona

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Accident Number: WPR20LA038
Date & Time: 12/11/2019, 0822 MST
Registration: N2822F
Aircraft: Piper PA-34-200T
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On December 11, 2019, about 0822 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-34-200T airplane, N2822F, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing near Deer Valley Airport (DVT), Phoenix, Arizona. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to Flying Ponderosa LLC and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight which originated from Sedona Airport (SEZ), Sedona, Arizona, about 0745 with an intended destination of DVT.

The pilot reported that the morning of the accident, he had flown from Payson, Arizona, to SEZ to pick up a passenger, prior to flying to DVT. Following an uneventful flight, the DVT tower controller vectored him for landing on runway 7R. The pilot stated that while on final approach to runway 7R, he went to apply power and realized that both engines had lost power. Despite the pilot's troubleshooting, he was unable to restore engine power and initiated a forced landing to a nearby road. During the landing sequence, the airplane struck unoccupied vehicles prior to coming to rest upright on a road about 1 mile west of DVT.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the right wing was separated from the fuselage. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N2822F
Model/Series: PA-34-200T
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: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KDVT, 1455 ft msl
Observation Time: 1553 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / 6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 110°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.24 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Sedona, AZ (SEZ)
Destination: Phoenix, AZ (DVT)

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: 33.683611, -112.110278 (est)

PHOENIX — A small plane made an emergency landing on a street near Deer Valley Airport in north Phoenix.

The plane landed near 23rd Avenue and Luis Drive. 

Surveillance video from Copper State Metals shows the plane going down, crash-landing on the street.

The plane is owned by Flying Ponderosa LLC out of Los Alamos, New Mexico.

The Phoenix Fire Department said the pilot and passenger of the plane initially refused medical treatment but one was transported to a local hospital for further medical evaluation.

Both Phoenix Fire Department and Phoenix Police Department had nothing but praise for the pilot of the Piper Seneca.

“Very lucky,” said Phoenix Fire Department Captain Nicole Minnick. “Very lucky to be walking away from this.”

“I mean, just looking at the scene itself,” said Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune. “I can tell you it’s an incredible landing.”

The plane made a quick "Mayday" call shortly after 8:00 a.m. to the control tower at Deer Valley Airport.  

A few moments later, the tower radioed back to the plane to no answer.

“706 Whiskey Whiskey, did you see an aircraft near the freeway on short final?” an air traffic controller asked an incoming plane. 

“We did see an aircraft go down,”  the pilot responded.

The plane crashed into the used car lot at Value Price Autos. The owners were texted a photo of the damage to their business shortly before arriving to work.

12 News learned on the scene that at least six cars were struck during the landing. 

“The right wing of the plane hit a car and tipped it on its side,” said Jennifer Wood, one of Value Price Autos' owners.  

“There’s damage to 10 different cars and pieces of the plane all over the lot.”

Police have confirmed that the pilot, a 48-year-old man, was a flight instructor. He was flying with a 42-year-old passenger.  

The passenger at first refused medical attention, but later decided to get checked out at a nearby hospital. Phoenix Police believe his injuries to be minor.

Business owners in the area tell 12 News that the air traffic is always on their mind.

“It is something I think about everyday,” Wood says. “I can hear the planes constantly coming in and out of the airport.”

National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating the crash.

Story and video ➤


  1. Doesn’t look like either engine was producing power at impact.

  2. No fire. Both engines out. Maybe it ran out of petrol. Pilot walks away. Good landing.

    1. If you look at the pic of the left wing there is a stain on the Asphalt under it. I think that is probably fuel, and a soaking agent.

  3. Yeah, even if he did run out of fuel (likely, no fire) it is a pretty good deadstick. He really doesn't stall it until few feet above the ground in the video, almost ideally getting tolerable sink while minimizing forward momentum. Pretty nice semi-crash.

  4. My guess is ran out of fuel.....should have drove a VW Beetle if he was being stingy on gas.

  5. If fuel exhaustion does indeed turn out to be the cause, is there any excuse for that ? Good landing or not, that's an event that is completely preventable. The fact that nobody was killed or injured here is remarkable.

  6. Based on photos it looks like the Starboard wings fuel tank had fuel in it based on the discolored pavement forward of the wing. Not having an indication of which engine failed since neither prop was feathered in the photos and propellors not bent backwards from engines producing power makes this accident a tough call what really happened. luckily pilot and copilot are ok and with a through investigation by NTSB of wreckage and pilot interviews we will soon know the cause.

  7. By definition, a good landing.

  8. Stain on the ground is oil, not fuel. 100LL would have evaporated away long before first responders arrived. No gas!

  9. Looks like the engines were producing partial power, and then about 50 feet agl it dropped like a rock.

  10. Used Car Dealer comments.

    "This is about number five since I've been here. This is the closest it's come," Flores said. "It's always in this area. I don't know. I'm thinking they need to put this airport, it's a flight school for I think three different schools, it probably needs to be in a more rural area in my opinion because there's just too many flying out and coming out of the sky."

    Flores says they get about 250 airplanes or more flying over the dealership each day.

    "Its getting to the point, is this thing going to fall on us?" Flores said. "They're falling out of the sky a lot."

    KDVT Phoenix Deer Valley Airport

    Aircraft based on the field: 932
    Single engine airplanes: 800
    Multi engine airplanes: 86
    Jet airplanes: 23
    Helicopters: 17
    Gliders airplanes: 4
    Military aircraft: 2

    Aircraft operations: avg 1037/day *

    1. Used car dealer says "Its getting to the point . . " and I start laughing. Bless his heart.

  11. He had fuel on board. He was cross feeding fuel to left wing.... A little bird told me this....

  12. Was his gear down? The separated gear off to the side in one shot could have been ejected when the nose came off.

  13. Flying an airplane all the way down and not stalling = a better chance of walking away.

  14. @Jim yes you can see the gear down in the video.

  15. Not saying he was, but if he WAS out of fuel, would insurance deny the claim?

  16. I'm no expert, but it appears that neither rotating (windmilling???) propeller was producing any thrust at the time of the accident.

    Regardless of the reason for the crash, the pilot did a very nice job of bringing it to rest.

  17. Also the wing tip 'damage to 10 different cars' and the apparent gear collapse slowed the acft prior to that last line of parked cars. Unknown were ruptured fuel tanks/fire, a possible side effect of collapsing gear, yet if empty was a factor in casualties.

    "Attitude and Sink Rate Control. The most critical and often the most inexcusable error that can be made in the planning and execution of an emergency landing, even in ideal terrain, is the loss of initiative over the airplane’s attitude and sink rate at touchdown. When the touchdown is made on flat, open terrain, an excessive nose-low pitch attitude brings the risk of “sticking” the nose in the ground. Steep bank angles just before touchdown should also be avoided, as they increase the stalling speed and the likelihood of a wingtip strike.Since the airplane’s vertical component of velocity is immediately reduced to zero upon ground contact, it must be kept well under control. A flat touchdown at a high sink rate (well in excess of 500 feet per minute (fpm)) on a hard surface can be injurious without destroying the cabin structure, especially during gear up landings in low-wing airplanes. A rigid bottom construction of these airplanes may preclude adequate cushioning by structural deformation. Similar impact conditions may cause structural collapse of the overhead structure in high-wing airplanes. On soft terrain, an excessive sink rate may cause digging in of the lower nose structure and severe forward deceleration." FAA. Ch. 17. Emergency Procedures

  18. Wow @gretnabear, That's a lot of technical info to digest, considering the cfi was in a semi-controlled crash situation. The video is self-explanatory.

    He literally crashed in a parking lot, at the slowest airspeed possible, so none of the above makes any sense.

  19. Pilot and passenger very lucky to be able to walk away from this one. That dead stick landing
    made that landing survivable. NTSB will do their due diligence to try to come up with a probable cause. I wonder if poor planning on the pilots part could have prevented this accident as other people have observed.

    This Airport opened up in 1960. It was in a very rural area then. It is all the businesses that have encroached on its flying area. I bet most business owners thought that having their business close to the airport would be a profitable move. Yet they are screaming too much air traffic and demanding that the flight schools move. I say that is a load of you know what!

  20. @anon 12/13 11:13. I think the point of that rather lengthy description is that vertical deceleration can be as bad as horizontal deceleration, so the airplane should be flared, not flown straight in or stalled at 50ft, both of which tend to increase the vertical velocity.

  21. Neither propeller appears to be feathered. That's unusual, unless the power loss occurred right on final approach.

  22. To expand just a touch on what Brian said on 12/13 @ 4:27pm. A controlled crash is much better than an uncontrolled one. :)

  23. Looks like he ran out of gas, base on no fire and very little fuel on ground. As a former Seneca 1 owner, I can say it's built like a Sh#t Brick House! Cheap pilot, didn't want to pay extra higher price, at last FBO............Lucky Pilot, with some skills.....