Sunday, July 21, 2019

Glastar GS-1, N65EW: Fatal accident occurred September 02, 2017 in Cascade, Valley County, Idaho

David Henderson
1967 - 2017

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boise, Idaho

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N65EW



Location: Cascade, ID
Accident Number: WPR17LA195
Date & Time: 09/02/2017, 1030 MDT
Registration: N65EW 
Aircraft: WALKER EDGAR E GLASTAR
Aircraft Damage:Destroyed 
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 2, 2017, about 1030 mountain daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built GlaStar GS-1, N65EW, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering above a wilderness area about 15 miles east-southeast of Cascade, Idaho. The private pilot was seriously injured, and the pilot-rated passenger was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed High Valley Swanson Airport (ID35), Cascade, Idaho, at an unknown time and was destined for Sulfur Creek Ranch Airport (ID74), Cascade, Idaho.

According to the previous owner (referred to as the seller) of the airplane, he lived in Idaho and based the airplane at Nampa Municipal Airport (MAN), Nampa, Idaho. About 2 weeks before the accident, he sold the airplane to another individual (referred to as "the buyer") who lived in Georgia. Several days before the accident, the buyer notified the seller that he (the buyer) would have a friend of his (the pilot), who also lived in Georgia, come to Idaho to pick up the airplane and fly it back to Georgia.

The day before the accident, the pilot met the seller at MAN to complete the transfer of the airplane. The seller offered to fly with the pilot in order to familiarize him with the airplane, but the seller said that he could only do that if he (the seller) could fly from the left seat, since the seller had never flown from the right seat. Alternatively, the seller offered to provide a flight instructor if the pilot preferred to fly from the left seat; the pilot opted for this course of action. Later that day, the pilot and instructor flew the airplane for about 1 hour, after which the ownership transfer was completed. The pilot told the seller that he was leaving for Georgia the following morning, and did not mention any other flight plans to the seller. About 1800 the next day, the seller texted the pilot to ask how the return flight was progressing, and the pilot informed him of the accident.

According to the pilot, his cousin, who was also a pilot, lived in Idaho. The pilot flew from MAN to ID35, where he met his cousin and remained overnight. The next morning, the two departed in the airplane, with a destination of ID74. While enroute to ID74, the pilot flew into a canyon and eventually realized that the airplane was unable to outclimb the terrain. The pilot began a right turn to escape the canyon, but the airplane stalled and impacted the ground. The pilot was able to use his mobile telephone to notify authorities of the accident and fatality. About 3 hours after the accident, a US Forest Service helicopter rendered assistance to the pilot. About an hour later, first responders were lowered to the pilot to prepare him for aerial extraction.

According to the helicopter pilot who effected the recovery of the pilot, smoke from a nearby forest fire reduced visibility somewhat, but the smoke was "not an issue" of impediment or concern. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 54, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/09/2017
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 998 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2 hours (Total, this make and model), 5 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 50, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s):
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s):
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/27/2001
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Total, all aircraft), 0 hours (Total, this make and model)  

Pilot

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued in February 2017. On his application for that certificate, the pilot indicated that he had a total flight experience of 998 hours. According to the seller, the pilot stated that he did not have any backcountry flight experience, but that he hoped to move to Idaho and begin gaining backcountry flying experience.

Pilot-Rated Passenger

FAA records indicated that the passenger's most recent commercial pilot certificate, which included single-engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings, was issued in May 2003. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in August 2001. No details of his flight experience, including total flight time, recency of experience, or mountain/backcountry training or flight time were obtained. The pilot did not provide any information regarding his cousin's participation in the planning or execution of the accident flight. 



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: WALKER EDGAR E
Registration: N65EW
Model/Series: GLASTAR GS-1
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1998
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 5296
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1990 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-320 SERIES
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 0 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

FAA records indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1998 and had an empty weight of 1,331 lbs. The records indicated that the most recent seller was the third owner, and that he had purchased the airplane in November 2016. The airplane was equipped with a normally-aspirated Lycoming O-320 series engine, which had accumulated about 40 hours since the seller had it partially overhauled a few months after his purchase. The seller stated that the maximum allowable gross weight was about 1,990 lbs, and that the total fuel capacity was 50 gallons. Fuel records at MAN indicated that the airplane was fueled with 38.9 gallons the evening before the accident, several hours after the ownership transfer was completed.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Light - Partial - Smoke; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Cascade, ID (ID35)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Cascade, ID (ID74)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  MDT
Type of Airspace: Unknown

Review of meteorological information indicated that visual meteorological conditions (VMC) existed in the vicinity of the accident site about the time of the accident, and first responder reports indicated that the area remained VMC for most of the day. Based on the upper air sounding data for the accident site for 1000 local time, the temperature would have been about 19°C at the accident site elevation.

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 44.411111, -115.677500 (est)

The airplane impacted terrain and came to rest on an upsloping, rocky clearing in a forested area on the sidewall of the canyon. The impact site was located about 14 miles west-southwest of ID74 at an elevation of about 7,500 ft msl. Damage to several trees was consistent with them being struck and cut by the airplane just before ground impact. The fuselage was aligned in about the same direction as the tree cut swath. There was no fire.

The wreckage was tightly contained; with the exception of the horizontal stabilizer/elevator and the propeller, all components remained attached to the airplane. The two separated components were found in close proximity to the main wreckage, and their locations and damage patterns were consistent with separation during the impact sequence. The cockpit/cabin was partially crushed, and torn open by impact. Due to impact damage, the pre-impact position of the flaps could not be determined. The left flap was found nearly fully retracted, while the right flap was found near the fully-extended position. The left wing was canted forward about 80° and the right wing was canted aft a similar amount. The left wing forward and right wing aft displacements were consistent with impact during a spin in the airplane nose right direction. The wreckage was not recovered.

Airport Information

ID35 was situated at an elevation of about 4,900 ft above mean sea level (msl). ID74 was located about 38 miles northeast of ID35 at an elevation of about 5,800 ft msl. The Sectional aeronautical chart for the region depicted high terrain with peaks ranging from about 6,700 to 8,700 ft msl between the two airports.



Additional Information

Flight Route Planning and Navigation

No ground-based radar tracking data were available for reconstruction of the airplane's flight path.

In his narrative statement on his NTSB accident reporting form, the pilot indicated that he was using GPS as his navigation tool. In additional communications to the NTSB, the pilot reported that he had previously used a Garmin GPSMap 295, but for this trip, he had access to an iPad equipped with the Foreflight application. The iPad/Foreflight hardware/software combination is capable of presenting altitude, navigation, weather, and traffic information. "Geo-referencing" is the term used to describe when such information is graphically depicted in relation to a map or aerial photo image. Geo-referencing was the primary display mode for the iPad/Foreflight combination, and included terrain display and warning capability.

The pilot reported that he used the iPad/Foreflight to determine his flight route. He was not specific about when or what method or information he used to determine the flight route. When asked, he reported that he did not enter or program any planned route into the device and that he did not have or use any paper charts before or during the flight. He reported that he used the iPad during the flight, but that it did not have the intended route of flight entered or displayed.

The pilot wrote that he "entered the canyon with both sides of the canyon below me. The canyon walls rose to the ridge-line we were trying to fly over, but the [accident airplane] climb performance deteriorated to the point that it would not clear the terrain ahead. The ridge-line ahead was above me and I could clearly see this when entering the canyon without looking at the iPad. I judged we had enough distance ahead to climb over the ridge." Once he recognized that the airplane would not outclimb the terrain, the pilot executed a right turn to reverse course, but then stalled the airplane during that turn.

In the "recommendation" section of the NTSB reporting form, the pilot wrote that one should enter a box canyon at an altitude above that of the canyon walls. He also stated that instruction in mountain flying could have aided in preventing this accident.

Airplane Performance

In communications with the NTSB, the pilot stated that he was unfamiliar with the airplane, particularly its climb performance, and that he incorrectly overestimated its actual climb capability. The kit manufacturer's Owner's Manual (OM) did not contain an Airplane Performance section. The only climb-related information in the OM was in the Normal Operating Procedures section, which presented the speeds for best angle of climb (75 mph) and best rate of climb (90 mph). The pilot did not report what speed he used in his attempt to climb above the terrain.

The pilot stated that he was concerned by the fact that the engine was operating with cylinder head temperatures above 415°F, despite the fact that the previous owner told him that "the engine shop that built the engine assured him that was normal and not to worry." The investigation was unable to obtain any engine performance data to allow determination of the effect of the higher-than-expected CHT values on the airplane's climb capability. Based on the airplane empty weight, fuel load, and number of persons on board, the airplane weighed about 1,800 lbs at the time of the accident. The kit manufacturer specified a maximum gross weight of 1,960 lbs.

Stalls

Stall and stall speed information was presented in the Limitations and Normal Operating Procedures sections of the OM. No explicit stall speeds were published, and the airplane was not equipped with a stall warning system or an angle of attack indication system.

Wings-level stall speeds for maximum gross weights were indirectly provided in the Limitations section via the kit manufacturer's designations of the bottoms of the white and green arcs on the airspeed indicator. The OM stated that the lower limit of the white arc (denoting the full-flap stall speed) was 49 mph, and the lower limit of the green arc (denoting the zero-flap stall speed) was 56 mph. The OM Limitations section stated that those values were derived from the kit manufacturer's test airplane. The OM then stated that, "Slight variations may be experienced in customer-built aircraft. Actual stall speeds should be determined from flight test of each individual aircraft, and the airspeed indicator markings should be adjusted appropriately."

The OM was not annotated with any other stall speed information. NTSB personnel did not examine or document the wreckage, and the on-scene documentation of the wreckage by other personnel did not depict or note the actual airspeed indicator markings. The pilot reported that he had deployed two notches of flaps (not full) at an undetermined time just prior to or during the turn. The stall speed for that flap setting is unknown, but would be in the range between the zero-flaps and full-flaps stall speeds cited above.

Stall speed varies directly with weight; decreased weight will decrease stall speed. Based on an estimated accident weight of 1,800 lbs, the wings-level stall speeds for the flight would have been about 2 mph less than the values in the OM. Stall speed also varies as a function of the bank angle; the stall speeds would have increased about 20 mph for this airplane in a 60° bank. The pilot did not report the speed at which he entered the course reversal turn or the bank angle or speed(s) he used in the turn.

The Normal Operating Procedures section of the OM stated that, "power-on stalls tend to be more aggressive than power-off stalls. The stall has a more defined break, and the torque effects of the engine and propeller induce rolling and yawing forces…that make a wing drop more likely to occur. These yawing forces make the development of a stall into a spin more likely…however power-on stalls are still extremely predictable and controllable." The OM stated that the "break of a power-on stall is preceded by a significant amount of airframe buffeting, which provides a clear 3-5 kt. warning period before the onset of the stall." The pilot did not report whether he noticed any pre-stall buffet.

Turn Radius and Mountain Flying

The FAA publication Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge states that turn radius is directly proportional to airspeed, and inversely proportional to bank angle. For a constant bank angle, turn radius increases with increased airspeed, and for a constant airspeed, turn radius decreases with increased bank angle. A minimum-radius turn would result from using the lowest airspeed and highest bank angle that still provide sufficient stall margin. Reduced stall speeds that result from flap extension can be used to reduce turn speed and resultant turn radius.


Commercially-available mountain flying training guidance advocates that when flying into a canyon, winds and turbulence permitting, instead of flying near the center of canyon, the pilot should offset the flight path to the side. The purpose is to pre-position the airplane in order to provide the most terrain clearance in the event that a course reversal turn becomes necessary. The pilot did not specify the lateral position of the airplane in the canyon during the ingress, or any details of how he attempted to execute the course reversal turn.

Loss of Control in Flight: Piper PA-44-180 Seminole, N2173S; fatal accident occurred July 13, 2017 in Marineland, Florida

Jeffrey Matthew Salan, 70

Muhammad Al-Anzi, 27

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Piper Aircraft Inc; Vero Beach, Florida
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Hartzell Propeller; Piqua, Ohio

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N2173S 

Joshua Cawthra, Investigator In Charge
National Transportation Safety Board



Dan Boggs, Air Safety Investigator
National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Marineland, FL
Accident Number: WPR17FA151
Date & Time: 07/13/2017, 2258 EDT
Registration: N2173S
Aircraft: PIPER PA 44-180
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On July 13, 2017, about 2258 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-44-180, N2173S, was destroyed during an inflight breakup near Marineland, Florida. The flight instructor and private pilot receiving instruction were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Sunrise Aviation, Inc., Ormond Beach, Florida, as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight, which originated from Brunswick, Georgia, at an undetermined time with an intended destination of Ormond Beach Municipal Airport (OMN), Ormond Beach, Florida.

A representative from the operator reported that the accident flight was a roundtrip night cross-country instructional flight from OMN to Brunswick. Following one landing at Brunswick, the flight was to return to OMN as part of the pilot's initial commercial multi-engine rating training course. According to the company's flight training syllabus, the flight should have consisted of dead reckoning, pilotage, performance planning, GPS or VOR navigation, cross-country planning, normal takeoff and landings, intercepting and tracking navigational systems, and instrument procedures.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control (ATC) audio communications and ground tracking radar information, which also included Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data were reviewed. The airplane was on a southerly course along the coastline at altitudes between 5,500 ft and 5,700 ft mean sea level (msl). At 2250, the flight contacted ATC and advised that they were at 5,500 ft, which the controller acknowledged. At 2257:36, the data showed the airplane began to descend. The pilot radioed the controller 26 seconds later and stated that they were starting down and had the OMN lights in sight. At 2258:27, the airplane climbed from 5,200 ft to 5,600 ft msl over the course of 4 seconds. The airplane remained at 5,600 ft msl for about 3 seconds then initiated a descending right turn, which continued for about 11 seconds. At 2258:45, the airplane had descended to 3,000 ft msl. The last ADS-B data point, recorded at 2258:46, showed the flight at 3,600 ft msl, about 0.3 mile northwest of the main wreckage. See Figure 1.

Between 2259:29 and 2259:48, the controller unsuccessfully attempted to establish radio communication with the accident airplane. The FAA issued an alert notice (ALNOT) shortly thereafter. The main wreckage was located by law enforcement air units about 1141 the following day.

Figure 1: Radar data showing final airplane flightpath

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/04/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  34830 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 27, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/17/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  131.2 hours (Total, all aircraft), 7 hours (Total, this make and model)

Flight Instructor

The flight instructor, age 70, held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and airplane single-engine sea ratings, along with commercial pilot privileges for airplane multi-engine land and glider. He also held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single- and multi-engine and instrument ratings. A third-class FAA airman medical certificate was issued to the instructor on June 4, 2016, with the limitation, "must have available glasses for near vision." On the application for that medical certificate, the instructor reported 34,830 total hours of flight experience, of which 400 hours were in the previous 6 months. The flight instructor's logbook was not located.

Pilot Receiving Instruction

The pilot receiving instruction, age 27, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. He was issued a second-class FAA medical certificate on August 17, 2016 with no limitations. A review of flight school records revealed that, as of July 12, 2017, he had accumulated 131.2 hours of flight experience, of which 7 hours were in multi-engine airplanes.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N2173S
Model/Series: PA 44-180 180
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1979
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 44-7995245
Landing Gear Type:Tricycle 
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/12/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3801 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 9460.5 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360-E1A6D
Registered Owner: SUNRISE AVIATION INC
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: SUNRISE AVIATION INC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141) 

The four-seat, low-wing, retractable gear, twin-engine airplane, serial number 44-7995245, was manufactured in 1979. The airplane was powered by 180-horsepower O-360-E1A6D and LO-360-F1A6D engines. Both engines were equipped with Hartzell constant-speed, 2-bladed propellers. The airplane was equipped with two 55-gallon fuel tanks.

Review of the airframe and engine maintenance logbooks revealed that the most recent annual inspection was completed on June 12, 2017, at an airframe total time of 9,460.5 hours and right engine tachometer hour reading of 9,460.5 hours. At the time of the inspection, the left engine had accumulated 2,174.0 hours since major overhaul and had an engine total time of 6,724.5 hours; the right engine had accumulated 3,122.4 hours since major overhaul and had an engine total time of 9,958.7 hours.

Using reported weights of both occupants (223 lbs and 185 lbs), an airplane empty weight of 2,460 lbs, and an estimated fuel load of 72 gallons (full fuel minus about 2 hours of flight time), the airplane was estimated to weigh about 3,285 lbs at the time of the accident. Maximum gross weight is 3,801 pounds. 



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KDAB, 41 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 30 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0253 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 163°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 25000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 90°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.15 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 26°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Brunswick, GA
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Ormond Beach, FL (OMN)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace: Class G

Recorded weather observation data from Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB), Daytona Beach, Florida, located about 30 miles south of the accident site, at 2253 included wind from 090° at 3 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, a broken cloud layer at 25,000 ft, temperature 28°C, dew point 26°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.15 inches of mercury.

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 29.661944, -81.215833 

The airplane impacted terrain about 25 miles north of OMN. The main wreckage came to rest inverted within a heavily wooded area. Trees directly above the wreckage were broken, consistent with little to no forward movement of the airplane at impact. The outboard portions of the left and right wings, baggage door, and a portion of the right side of the stabilator were located throughout a 0.5-mile-long and 0.2-mile-wide debris path in water and marshland northwest of the main wreckage. The fuselage came to rest inverted on a heading about 022° magnetic. Various debris, including fragments of the left stabilator, were located within about 50 ft of the fuselage. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Fuselage

Examination of the recovered wreckage revealed that the roof structure was compressed into the cabin seating area. The fuselage was partially separated at fuselage station (FS) 156. The instrument panel was crushed aft into the front seat area. The cabin door and baggage area door were separated. Both the left and right inboard portion of the wings remained attached to the fuselage structure.

Both left and right seat control wheel horns were fragmented. The T-bar remained attached to the fuselage hinge point. The horizontal section was fragmented. The aileron control cables remained attached to the T-bar chain. The stabilator cables remained attached to the T-bar assembly. The rudder pedals were impact damaged. The rudder cables remained attached to the rudder cable assembly.

The left engine fuel selector valve lever was in the "on" position, and the right engine fuel selector valve lever was in the "off" position. The fuel selector valve positions could not be verified due to impact damage and mount separation at the fuselage. Air was applied to the fuel selector valves and continuity was established throughout each valve.



Left Wing

The outboard left wing was recovered about 0.48 mile west-northwest of the main wreckage. The main spar was fractured about wing station (WS) 105. The fiberglass wingtip was separated from the outboard wing at WS 206.7 and recovered mostly intact and undamaged. The left aileron was separated from the left outboard wing at the hinge points. Three sections of the left aileron were recovered, spanning from the inboard end about WS 106 to about WS 181. The outboard portion (25 inches) of the left aileron, including the aileron balance weight, was not recovered.

The main spar, leading edge, and upper and lower skins between about WS 105 and WS 130 were damaged and deformed up and aft indicative of an upward (positive) separation of the left outboard wing. There were several fractures and twisting deformation of the main spar structure in this area. The main spar inboard of the fracture point, between about WS 93 and WS 105, was deformed aft and down. A semicircular impact impression and tree debris were embedded in the wing structure in this area.

The aileron cables remained attached to the bellcrank and there was tearing of the WS 93 rib in an aft direction at the normal cable pass-through locations. The fractured ends of the aileron control and balance cables had a splayed appearance consistent with tension overload. The main spar fracture surfaces all had a dull, grainy appearance consistent with overstress separation. There was no evidence of any pre-existing corrosion or cracking on any of the fracture surfaces.

Right Wing

A large portion of the right outboard wing was recovered about 0.39 mile west-northwest of the main wreckage. The main spar upper cap was fractured about WS 126 and the lower cap was fractured about WS 148. The leading edge nose skin and ribs and lower leading edge skin were separated as a unit from the right outboard wing and recovered about 0.6 mile west-northwest of the main wreckage. A smaller piece of the leading edge lower skin about 3 ft long was also separated outboard of WS 170. The fiberglass wingtip was separated from the outboard wing at WS 206.7 and only the upper half was recovered. The right aileron was separated from the wing at the hinge points. The entire aileron was recovered; however, it was separated into two pieces at the center hinge point. The main spar inboard of the fracture point was deformed up and aft outboard of WS 105, indicative of an upward (positive) separation of the right outboard wing.

The aileron cables remained attached to the bellcrank and there were two cable tears through the upper wing skin inboard of the fracture point. The fractured ends of the aileron control and balance cables had a splayed, broomstraw appearance consistent with tension overload. The main spar fracture surfaces all exhibited a dull, grainy appearance consistent with overstress separation. There was no evidence of any pre-existing corrosion or cracking on any of the fracture surfaces.

Empennage

The vertical stabilizer was separated from the fuselage but remained connected to the fuselage by the electrical wiring. The two vertical stabilizer forward spar bolts remained installed in the stabilizer; however, they were pulled through the fuselage fitting in an upward direction. The vertical stabilizer rear attach fitting remained attached to the fuselage and was deformed aft and to the left. All the rivets that attached the fitting to the vertical stabilizer rear spar were sheared. The rudder was separated from the vertical stabilizer at the hinge points and was recovered at the main wreckage site. The rudder trim tab remained attached. The upper 12 to 18 inches of the vertical stabilizer and rudder were damaged and deformed to the left.

The horizontal stabilator hinge and counterweight was torn from the upper end of the vertical stabilizer and recovered at the main wreckage site. The left stabilator was torn into several pieces and was found wrapped around a tree at the main wreckage site. The left 28 inches and the center 29 inches of the trim tab were separated from the stabilator and recovered at the main wreckage site. The right side of the stabilator was separated from the empennage and recovered mostly intact about 0.6 mile west-northwest of the main wreckage. About 47 inches of the trim tab remained attached to the right stabilator. The right stabilator skins were buckled and there were impact impressions in the leading edge. The stabilator spar was fractured about right buttock line 7. The upper spar cap and upper stabilator skin were deformed and curled upward at the fracture point and the lower spar cap and lower stabilator skin had no obvious deformation. Matching of the fracture surfaces was indicative of upward direction separation to the left. The stabilator spar fracture surfaces all displayed a dull, grainy appearance consistent with overstress separation.

Flight Control Continuity

Flight control continuity was established throughout the airframe from the cockpit controls to all primary flight control surfaces. Numerous separations of the control system were observed. All areas of separation exhibited signatures consistent with overload separation.

Engine Examination

Left Engine

The left engine remained attached to the engine mount. The propeller assembly was partially separated from the engine just forward of the nose case and the crankshaft was fractured through about two-thirds of its circumference. The upper portion of the engine exhibited impact damage, mostly to the pushrod tubes. The upper spark plugs, vacuum pump, propeller governor, propeller, and fuel pump were removed from the engine. The crankshaft was rotated using the propeller flange. Rotational continuity was established throughout the engine and valve train. The No. 2 cylinder pushrods were damaged and would not allow for movement of the intake and exhaust rocker arm and valve when the crankshaft was rotated. After the No. 2 cylinder rocker arms were removed, thumb compression and suction was obtained on all four cylinders. All four cylinders were examined internally using a lighted borescope and were found unremarkable. Residual oil was present within the engine. The oil suction screen and oil filter were free of metallic debris.

The carburetor was impact separated and fractured across the throttle bore. The throttle and mixture control cables were separated; however, the cables remained attached to the respective control arms. The carburetor fuel inlet screen was missing, and the housing exhibited impact damage. The internal plastic float was intact and contained a blue liquid within 2 of the 3 bays. One bay was almost full of the liquid and the other bay was about one-third full. No fuel or debris was observed within the carburetor float bowl.

The engine-driven fuel pump base remained attached to the engine. The pump section of the governor was impact separated. The pump was partially disassembled and all internal components examined were unremarkable. Residual liquid consistent with fuel was observed within the fuel pump.

The top and bottom spark plugs were removed and examined. All four upper plugs were fractured and impact damaged. All eight spark plug electrodes exhibited worn normal signatures. All of the spark plugs exhibited dark gray deposits within the electrode area except for the No. 4 top spark plug; the electrode was separated consistent with impact damage.

The magneto remained attached to the engine and exhibited impact damage which precluded functional testing. All internal components were present and unremarkable.

The propeller governor base remained attached to the engine. The upper portion of the governor was fractured. The cable was separated however remained attached to the actuator arm. The propeller governor screen was free of debris.

The vacuum pump remained attached to the engine with external damage noted. The drive shaft was intact. The vacuum pump was disassembled. The carbon rotor was fractured, and the vanes remained intact.

Right Engine

The right engine remained attached to the engine mount. The propeller assembly was separated from the engine just forward of the nose case. The magneto and carburetor were separated from their respective mounts. The upper portion of the engine exhibited impact damage, mostly to the pushrod tubes. The upper spark plugs, vacuum pump, propeller governor, and fuel pump were removed from the engine. The crankshaft was rotated using a hand tool attached to an accessory drive mount pad. Rotational continuity was established throughout the engine and valve train. The No. 4 intake valve, No. 1 exhaust valve, and No. 3 intake and exhaust valve pushrods exhibited impact damage and would not allow for movement of the rocker arm and valve when the crankshaft was rotated. The rocker arms were removed and thumb compression and suction was obtained on all four cylinders. All four cylinders were examined internally using a lighted borescope and were found unremarkable. Residual oil was present within the engine. The oil suction screen and oil filter were free of metallic debris. The oil cooler hoses were secure to both the engine and oil cooler.

The carburetor was impact separated and fractured across the throttle bore. The throttle and mixture control cables were separated but remained attached to the respective control arms. The carburetor fuel inlet screen was partially crushed and exposed to elements, but was found free of debris. The internal plastic float was intact. No fuel or debris was observed within the carburetor float bowl.

The top and bottom spark plugs were removed and examined. All four upper plugs were fractured and impact damaged. All eight spark plug electrodes exhibited worn normal signatures. The number 1 upper and lower spark plugs exhibited darker deposits within the electrode area than the remainder of the spark plugs which exhibited light gray deposits.

The magneto was separated from the engine and exhibited impact damage which precluded functional testing. All internal components were present and unremarkable.

The engine-driven fuel pump base remained attached to the engine. The pump section of the governor was impact separated. The pump was partially disassembled, and all internal components examined were unremarkable. A liquid consistent with 100LL aviation fuel was observed within the fuel line from the engine-driven fuel pump to the carburetor.

The propeller governor base remained attached to the engine. The upper portion of the governor was fractured. The cable was separated but remained attached to the actuator arm. The propeller governor screen was free of debris.

The vacuum pump remained attached to the engine with no external damage noted. The drive shaft was intact. The vacuum pump was disassembled. The carbon rotor was fractured, and the vanes remained intact.

Propellers

Left

Examination of the left propeller revealed that all six mounting studs were present with no apparent damage to the propeller mounting flange. Both blades were bent aft and twisted leading edge down in varying degrees. The propeller pitch change mechanism appeared to be on the start lock. Blade one was rotated beyond the low pitch stop angle and the counterweight punctured the cylinder. The left propeller had chordwise/rotational abrasion on the camber side of the blades and witness marks indicating blade angle in the low range of normal operation.

Right

The right propeller was fractured from the engine aft of the crankshaft propeller mounting flange. The starter ring gear and crankshaft flange were still attached. All six mounting studs were present with no apparent damage to the propeller mounting flange. Blade one was bent aft and twisted. Blade two was unremarkable. The propeller pitch change mechanism appeared to be on the start lock. Blade one was rotated beyond the low pitch stop angle and the counterweight punctured the cylinder. The cylinder base appeared partially separated from the hub mounting area adjacent to blade one. The right propeller had chordwise/rotational abrasion on the camber side of the blades and witness marks indicating blade angle in the low range of normal operation. 

Medical And Pathological Information

An autopsy of the flight instructor was performed by the Flagler County Medical Examiner, St. Augustine, Florida. The autopsy report indicated that the pilot's cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries. The National Medical Services (NMS) Laboratory performed testing as part of the autopsy. Testing of a liver specimen detected ethanol at 0.087 gm/dl.

Toxicology testing on specimens recovered from the flight instructor performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory identified the following: anhydroecgonine methyl ester in liver, a product formed when cocaine is smoked; benzoylecgonine, the primary inactive metabolite of cocaine, at 22 ng/mg in liver and 25 ng/mg in muscle; ecgonine methyl ester, an inactive metabolite of cocaine, in liver; levamisole, a veterinary medicine and common cutting agent used to dilute the purity of street cocaine, in liver; delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, was detected in muscle at 108 ng/mg but was inconclusive in liver; and 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH), the primary inactive metabolite of THC, was detected in in muscle at 4.5 ng/mg, in liver at 63.7 ng/mg, and in urine at 184.3 ng/ml. No ethanol was detected in the flight instructor's urine.

Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant. Initial effects include euphoria, excitation, general arousal, dizziness, increased focus and alertness. At higher doses, effects may include psychosis, confusion, delusions, hallucinations, fear, antisocial behavior, and aggressiveness. Late effects, beginning within 1 to 2 hours after use, include dysphoria, depression, agitation, nervousness, drug craving, general central nervous system depression, fatigue, and insomnia. Additionally, more negative performance effects are expected after higher doses, with chronic ingestion, and during drug withdrawal, including agitation, anxiety, distress, inability to focus on divided attention tasks, inability to follow directions, confusion, hostility, time distortion, and poor balance and coordination.

Marijuana is a psychoactive central nervous system depressant. Concentrations of THC and THC-COOH are very dependent on pattern of use as well as dose. Concentrations vary depending on the potency of marijuana and the way the drug is used; however, peak plasma concentrations of 100-200 ng/mL are routinely encountered shortly after smoking. Plasma concentrations of THC decline rapidly and are often less than 5 ng/ml after 3 hours. Determination of accurate blood levels from known tissue levels is not possible at this time due to limited research and the drug's complex distribution and metabolism. Following smoking marijuana, most behavioral and physiological effects return to baseline levels within 3-5 hours after drug use, although some studies have demonstrated residual effects in specific behaviors up to 24 hours, such as complex divided attention tasks. In long-term users, even after periods of abstinence, selective attention (ability to filter out irrelevant information) has been shown to be adversely affected with increasing duration of use, and speed of information processing has been shown to be impaired with increasing frequency of use.

During an interview with the instructor's son, he reported that his family, including his father, were casual users of marijuana. He said that he knew of previous instances that his father used cocaine; however, he did not know when his father had last used either substance.

The use of cocaine and marijuana is prohibited under 14 CFR 91.17, which prohibits a person to act or attempt to act as a crew member of a civil aircraft while using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any ways contrary to safety.

Ethanol is primarily a social drug with a powerful central nervous system depressant. After absorption, ethanol is quickly distributed throughout the body's tissues and fluids fairly uniformly. Ethanol may also be produced in the body after death by microbial activity, however, vitreous humor and urine do not suffer from such production to any significant extent in relation to other tissues.

Pilot Receiving Instruction

An external-only examination autopsy of the pilot receiving instruction was performed by the Flagler County Medical Examiner, St. Augustine, Florida. The autopsy report indicated that the pilot's cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.

Toxicology testing by the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory was not performed.

Tests And Research

The airplane's design maneuvering speeds (VA) was 133 kts for a heavy airplane (3,800 lbs) and 112 kts for a lighter configuration (2,700 lbs; given the airplane's estimated weight at the time of the accident, (about 3,250 to 3,350 lbs), the design maneuvering speed was between 112 and 133 kts. The maximum structural cruising speed (Vno) was 165 kts.


An NTSB performance study calculated the airplane's indicated airspeed based on radar and ADS-B data. The study found that the airplane was flying at an altitude about 5,500 ft and an airspeed just above 130 kts with some variation. At 2257:36, the airplane began to descend and its airspeed increased to a maximum of 144 kts at 2257:59. At 2258:27, the airplane began to rapidly climb at a rate of 6,000 ft per minute (fpm) over the next 4 seconds from 5,200 ft to 5,600 ft before beginning its final descent. From 2258:32 to 2258:45, the rate of descent was in excess of 10,000 fpm. During this descent, the airplane exceeded Vno at 2258:39. The end of the radar and ADS-B data showed different flight paths; when combined, they show a right descending turn at the end of the flight. For more information, see the Performance Study within the public docket for this accident.

Midair Collision: Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II, N4407T and Luscombe 8A, N2889K; fatal accident occurred December 31, 2016 near Aero Country Airport (T31), McKinney, Collin County, Texas

Greg and Tim Barber

Robert Navar


The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Dallas, Texas
Piper Aircraft Company; Vero Beach, Florida

N4407T Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 


N4407T Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms 



N4407T Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N4407T





Location: McKinney, TX
Accident Number: CEN17FA063A
Date & Time: 12/31/2016, 1725 CST
Registration: N4407T
Aircraft: PIPER PA28R
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Midair collision
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

The pilots were making personal flights in the two airplanes, a Luscombe and a Piper, when the airplanes collided in midair in the traffic pattern of the nontowered airport where both airplanes were based. The Luscombe, with a commercial pilot and a passenger onboard departed from runway 17 at the airport, turned left to an east heading, and then left to a north heading, which placed the Luscombe on the downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern. Meanwhile, the Piper with a private pilot aboard approached the airport from the northwest, turned east, and then crossed the airport near midfield about 1,800 ft mean sea level, the airport's traffic pattern altitude. The Piper collided with the Luscombe, and both airplanes entered uncontrolled descents and impacted terrain about a quarter of a mile apart.

Postaccident examination of the wreckage found pieces of the Luscombe with the Piper wreckage and pieces of the Piper with the Luscombe wreckage. Paint and transfer marks on the Luscombe were consistent with the Piper impacting the left rear of the Luscombe.

One pilot-rated witness reported that he saw no indication that either pilot saw the other before the airplanes collided, and the radar data showed no indication of maneuvering to avoid a collision by either airplane. The Luscombe's high-wing configuration and the convergence angle of the airplanes that required the Luscombe pilot to look west into a setting sun to see the Piper likely restricted the Luscombe pilot's ability to see the Piper approaching from his left-rear side. The Piper's low wing configuration may also have restricted the Piper pilot's ability to see the Luscombe that was in front of and likely slightly below him. Further, the Piper pilot's decision to use an alternate traffic pattern entry procedure and cross midfield at traffic pattern altitude rather than at least 500 ft above pattern altitude, which is the preferred traffic pattern entry procedure recommended in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance material, provided less opportunity for him to see the Luscombe.

Witnesses reported hearing the Luscombe pilot making radio calls on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). They further reported hearing the pilots of other airplanes making calls on the CTAF, but they were not sure if any of the calls were from the Piper pilot. Therefore, it could not be determined if the Piper pilot was making the FAA-recommended traffic pattern entry radio calls.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's use of an alternate traffic pattern entry procedure, which resulted in his inability to see and avoid the other airplane, which was flying the preferred traffic pattern, and the subsequent midair collision. 

Findings

Personnel issues
Monitoring other aircraft - Pilot (Cause)
Use of policy/procedure - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern downwind
Midair collision (Defining event)

Uncontrolled descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On December 31, 2016, about 1725 central standard time, a Piper PA-28R-200 airplane, N4407T, and a Luscombe 8A airplane, N2889K, were destroyed when they collided in mid-air over McKinney, Texas, about one-half mile east of the Aero Country Airport (T31), McKinney, Texas. The pilot, the sole occupant onboard the Piper was fatally injured, and the pilot and passenger onboard the Luscombe were also fatally injured. Both airplanes were owned and operated by private individuals. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Both flights were operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flights and were not on flight plans. The Luscombe had departed T31 just prior to the accident, and the Piper was returning to T31.

Several witnesses reported seeing the airplanes, including airplanes being close together prior to the accident and were "in formation", "dog fighting" or "flying tandem together".


A review of radar information revealed the Piper approached the airport from the northwest, before turning east over the airport at an altitude of 1,800 ft mean sea level (msl). A transponder signal was not received from the Luscombe; however, a radar return, consistent with the Luscombe flight path revealed that the airplane departed T31's runway 17, turned east and then headed north, as though in a left downwind traffic pattern. Both airplanes were based at T31.


A video of the accident was captured by a camera mounted in a police cruiser. A review of the video showed both airplanes in the distance. The camera is pointed south and captures the Luscombe near the top center of the image and the Piper enters the frame from the right. The Piper continued toward the Luscombe until they collided. The video then reveals both airplanes spiraling downward in an uncontrolled descent. [photos from the video is included in the docket for this accident] Additionally, a security camera of a nearby business caught part of the Piper's descent, just before impact with the ground.


The Luscombe also had a Go-Pro camera in the cockpit, that was recording during the flight. A review of the Go-Pro video revealed that the camera did not capture the mid-air collision. However, the video did capture images prior to takeoff and during the initial departure. The NTSB's Video Recorders Laboratory technician's report is included in the docket for this accident.


Pilot Information


Certificate: Private

Age: 48
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/25/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/24/2016
Flight Time: 815.3 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot of the Luscombe held a commercial pilot certificate with rating for airplane single-engine and multi-engine land with centerline thrust limitation. The pilot's last medical certificate that was issued on May 22, 2003 as a second class with no limitations. At the time of the exam the pilot listed 325 hours and 6 hours, in the previous 6-months. The pilot was reportedly a former US Air Force pilot; however, investigators did not receive the pilot's total flight time, which would have included his military flight time. The pilot was eligible to fly under the sport pilot medical rules, which requires him to have a valid driver's license.


The pilot of the Piper held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot's second-class medical certificate was issued on May 25, 2016, with the limitation: must wear corrective lenses. At the time of the exam, the pilot listed 796.7 total hours and 4 hours in the previous 6-months. A review of the pilot's logbook, located in the wreckage, revealed he had a total flight time of 815.3 hours, with the last flight recorded on November 19, 2016. 


Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information


Aircraft Make: PIPER

Registration: N4407T
Model/Series: PA28R 200
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1972
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28R-7235089
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/01/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1989.28 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: I0360 SER
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 200 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The Luscombe 8A is a two-seat, high-wing, single-engine airplane, with fixed landing gear. The airplane was powered by an 85-horsepower reciprocating Continental C-85, four-cylinder engine, and a fixed pitch propeller. The airplane was modified with an electrical system including a radio; the airplane was not equipped with a transponder. The airplane qualifies as a light-sport airplane. The last annual inspection was completed on November 25, 2016, at the time of the inspection, the airplane total time was 3,841.43 hours and 485.56 hours since engine overhaul.


The Piper PA28R-200 is a four-seat, low-wing, single-engine airplane, with retractable landing gear. The airplane was powered by a 200-horsepower reciprocating Lycoming IO-360-C1C, four-cylinder engine, and a constant speed propeller. The last annual inspection was completed on February 1, 2016, at the time of the inspection, the airframe and engine had a tachometer time of 1,989.28 hours and 91.28 hours since an engine top overhaul.


Neither airplane was equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), nor were they required to be. Though, the absence of a transponder in the Luscombe was not in compliance with the airspace's mode C vail transponder requirement. 


Meteorological Information and Flight Plan


Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions

Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KTKI
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1653 CST
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 200°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.76 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: McKinney, TX (T31)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination:
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: CST
Type of Airspace: 

At 1653, the weather observation station located at the McKinney National Airport and about 8 miles east of the accident site recorded: wind from 200° at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, a clear sky, a temperature of 64° F, dew point 43° F, and an altimeter setting of 29.76 inches of mercury.


Astronomical data from the U.S. Navy Observatory for McKinney, Texas, Collin county, recorded a sunrise at 0730, sunset at 1730, and the end of civil twilight at 1757.


Airport Information

Airport: Aero Country Airport (T31)

Runway Surface Type: 
Airport Elevation: 765 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 17
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4352 ft / 60 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern 

The Aero Country Airport (T31) is a privately owned, open to the public, non-towered airport, located 4 miles west of McKinney, Texas. Pilots are to use the CTAF for communications. T31 has a single asphalt runway oriented 17/35, and 4,352 ft long by 60 ft wide. The airport is at an elevation of 765 ft.


The T31 airport is situated underneath the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas class B airspace, and inside the 30-nautical mile (transponder) mode C vail. 




Wreckage and Impact Information


Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal

Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.206667, -96.732778 

The Luscombe impacted a residential street east of the airport and came to rest in a near vertical attitude. Evidence of fuel was present at the accident site, and there was no post-crash fire. The wreckage was removed from the street and was examined. Impact marks and paint/tire transfer marks found on the vertical stabilizer and left rear of the fuselage on the Luscombe were attributed to the Piper. A piece of the Piper wing skin was found among the Luscombe wreckage. The left stabilizer and elevator were missing, and not located during the on-scene portion of the investigation. The stabilizer and elevator were located near a fenced off dumpster and turned over to investigators on February 7, 2017.


The Piper impacted an open concrete area of a storage facility, about one-quarter mile east of the Luscombe. The wreckage was scattered just beyond the initial ground impact point and came to rest near storage lockers. A post-crash fire consumed a portion of the wreckage. Impact and fire damage prevented verification of flight control continuity; however, examination of the flight control cables revealed overload failures and first responder cuts. The landing gear appeared to be extended. Several pieces of unidentified metal skin from the Luscombe were found with the Piper wreckage. 

Communications


Neither pilot was in contact with an air traffic control facility, nor were they required to be. Witnesses reported that they heard the pilot of the Luscombe on the radio CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency)), recognizing his voice. They added that there were other radio transmissions, but wasn't sure if they were from the Piper pilot or not. 


Medical And Pathological Information


The Office of the Collin County Medical Examiner, McKinney, Texas conducted autopsies on the pilots. The cause of deaths was determined to be: "blunt force injuries".


The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on both pilots. The specimens were not tested for cyanide and carbon monoxide. The tests were negative for ethanol and tested drugs.




Additional Information


Excerpts from FAA Advisory Circular AC 90-66B, Non -Towered Airport Flight Operations


This AC calls attention to regulatory requirements, recommended operations, and communications procedures for operating at an airport without a control tower or an airport with a control tower that operates only part time. It recommends traffic patterns, communications phraseology, and operational procedures for use by aircraft, lighter-than-air aircraft, gliders, parachutes, rotorcraft, and ultralight vehicles.


10.1 Recommended Traffic Advisory Practices. All traffic within a 10-mile radius of a non-towered airport or a part-time-towered airport when the control tower is not operating should continuously monitor and communicate, as appropriate, on the designated CTAF until leaving the area or until clear of the movement area. After first monitoring the frequency for other traffic present passing within 10 miles from the airport, self-announcing of your position and intentions should occur between 8 and 10 miles from the airport upon arrival. Departing aircraft should continuously monitor/communicate on the appropriate frequency from startup, during taxi, and until 10 miles from the airport, unless 14 CFR or local procedures require otherwise.


11 RECOMMENDED STANDARD TRAFFIC PATTERN. The following information is intended to supplement the AIM [Aeronautical Information Manual], paragraph 4-3-3, Traffic Patterns, and the PHAK [ Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge], Chapter 14.


11.3 Traffic Pattern Entry. Arriving aircraft should be at traffic pattern altitude and allow for sufficient time to view the entire traffic pattern before entering. Entries into traffic


patterns while descending may create collision hazards and should be avoided. Entry to the downwind leg should be at a 45-degree angle abeam the midpoint of the runway to be used for landing. The pilot may use discretion to choose an alternate type of entry, especially when intending to cross over midfield, based upon the traffic and communication at the time of arrival.


Note: Aircraft should always enter the pattern at pattern altitude, especially when flying over midfield and entering the downwind directly. A midfield crossing alternate pattern entry should not be used when the pattern is congested. Descending into the traffic pattern can be dangerous, as one aircraft could descend on top of another aircraft already in the pattern. All similar types of aircraft, including those entering on the 45-degree angle to downwind, should be at the same pattern altitude so that it is easier to visually acquire any traffic in the pattern. 


Figure 1. Preferred and Alternate Entry When Crossing Midfield (From the PHAK)


Preferred Entry When Crossing Over Midfield Alternate Midfield Entry


  
N2889K Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

N2889K Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms



N2889K Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N2889K 

Location: McKinney, TX
Accident Number: CEN17FA063B
Date & Time: 12/31/2016, 1725 CST
Registration: N2889K
Aircraft: LUSCOMBE 8
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Midair collision
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

The pilots were making personal flights in the two airplanes, a Luscombe and a Piper, when the airplanes collided in midair in the traffic pattern of the nontowered airport where both airplanes were based. The Luscombe, with a commercial pilot and a passenger onboard departed from runway 17 at the airport, turned left to an east heading, and then left to a north heading, which placed the Luscombe on the downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern. Meanwhile, the Piper with a private pilot aboard approached the airport from the northwest, turned east, and then crossed the airport near midfield about 1,800 ft mean sea level, the airport's traffic pattern altitude. The Piper collided with the Luscombe, and both airplanes entered uncontrolled descents and impacted terrain about a quarter of a mile apart.

Postaccident examination of the wreckage found pieces of the Luscombe with the Piper wreckage and pieces of the Piper with the Luscombe wreckage. Paint and transfer marks on the Luscombe were consistent with the Piper impacting the left rear of the Luscombe.

One pilot-rated witness reported that he saw no indication that either pilot saw the other before the airplanes collided, and the radar data showed no indication of maneuvering to avoid a collision by either airplane. The Luscombe's high-wing configuration and the convergence angle of the airplanes that required the Luscombe pilot to look west into a setting sun to see the Piper likely restricted the Luscombe pilot's ability to see the Piper approaching from his left-rear side. The Piper's low wing configuration may also have restricted the Piper pilot's ability to see the Luscombe that was in front of and likely slightly below him. Further, the Piper pilot's decision to use an alternate traffic pattern entry procedure and cross midfield at traffic pattern altitude rather than at least 500 ft above pattern altitude, which is the preferred traffic pattern entry procedure recommended in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance material, provided less opportunity for him to see the Luscombe.

Witnesses reported hearing the Luscombe pilot making radio calls on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). They further reported hearing the pilots of other airplanes making calls on the CTAF, but they were not sure if any of the calls were from the Piper pilot. Therefore, it could not be determined if the Piper pilot was making the FAA-recommended traffic pattern entry radio calls.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The other pilot's use of an alternate traffic pattern entry procedure, which resulted in his inability to see and avoid the airplane, which was flying the preferred traffic pattern, and the subsequent midair collision.

Findings

Personnel issues
Monitoring other aircraft - Pilot of other aircraft (Cause)
Use of policy/procedure - Pilot of other aircraft (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern downwind
Midair collision (Defining event)

Uncontrolled descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On December 31, 2016, about 1725 central standard time, a Piper PA-28R-200 airplane, N4407T, and a Luscombe 8A airplane, N2889K, were destroyed when they collided in mid-air over McKinney, Texas, about one-half mile east of the Aero Country Airport (T31), McKinney, Texas. The pilot, the sole occupant onboard the Piper was fatally injured, and the pilot and passenger onboard the Luscombe were also fatally injured. Both airplanes were owned and operated by private individuals. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Both flights were operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flights and were not on flight plans. The Luscombe had departed T31 just prior to the accident, and the Piper was returning to T31.

Several witnesses reported seeing the airplanes, including airplanes being close together prior to the accident and were "in formation", "dog fighting" or "flying tandem together".

A review of radar information revealed the Piper approached the airport from the northwest, before turning east over the airport at an altitude of 1,800 ft mean sea level (msl). A transponder signal was not received from the Luscombe; however, a radar return, consistent with the Luscombe flight path revealed that the airplane departed T31's runway 17, turned east and then headed north, as though in a left downwind traffic pattern. Both airplanes were based at T31.

A video of the accident was captured by a camera mounted in a police cruiser. A review of the video showed both airplanes in the distance. The camera is pointed south and captures the Luscombe near the top center of the image and the Piper enters the frame from the right. The Piper continued toward the Luscombe until they collided. The video then reveals both airplanes spiraling downward in an uncontrolled descent. [photos from the video is included in the docket for this accident] Additionally, a security camera of a nearby business caught part of the Piper's descent, just before impact with the ground.

The Luscombe also had a Go-Pro camera in the cockpit, that was recording during the flight. A review of the Go-Pro video revealed that the camera did not capture the mid-air collision. However, the video did capture images prior to takeoff and during the initial departure. The NTSB's Video Recorders Laboratory technician's report is included in the docket for this accident.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 55
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied:
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time: 

The pilot of the Luscombe held a commercial pilot certificate with rating for airplane single-engine and multi-engine land with centerline thrust limitation. The pilot's last medical certificate that was issued on May 22, 2003 as a second class with no limitations. At the time of the exam the pilot listed 325 hours and 6 hours, in the previous 6-months. The pilot was reportedly a former US Air Force pilot; however, investigators did not receive the pilot's total flight time, which would have included his military flight time. The pilot was eligible to fly under the sport pilot medical rules, which requires him to have a valid driver's license.

The pilot of the Piper held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot's second-class medical certificate was issued on May 25, 2016, with the limitation: must wear corrective lenses. At the time of the exam, the pilot listed 796.7 total hours and 4 hours in the previous 6-months. A review of the pilot's logbook, located in the wreckage, revealed he had a total flight time of 815.3 hours, with the last flight recorded on November 19, 2016.



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: LUSCOMBE
Registration: N2889K
Model/Series: 8 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1947
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 5616
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/25/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1351 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3841.43 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: C-85
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 85 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The Luscombe 8A is a two-seat, high-wing, single-engine airplane, with fixed landing gear. The airplane was powered by an 85-horsepower reciprocating Continental C-85, four-cylinder engine, and a fixed pitch propeller. The airplane was modified with an electrical system including a radio; the airplane was not equipped with a transponder. The airplane qualifies as a light-sport airplane. The last annual inspection was completed on November 25, 2016, at the time of the inspection, the airplane total time was 3,841.43 hours and 485.56 hours since engine overhaul.

The Piper PA28R-200 is a four-seat, low-wing, single-engine airplane, with retractable landing gear. The airplane was powered by a 200-horsepower reciprocating Lycoming IO-360-C1C, four-cylinder engine, and a constant speed propeller. The last annual inspection was completed on February 1, 2016, at the time of the inspection, the airframe and engine had a tachometer time of 1,989.28 hours and 91.28 hours since an engine top overhaul.

Neither airplane was equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), nor were they required to be. Though, the absence of a transponder in the Luscombe was not in compliance with the airspace's mode C vail transponder requirement. 



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KTKI
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1653 CST
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 200°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.76 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: McKinney, TX (T31)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: McKinney, TX (T31)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  CST
Type of Airspace:

At 1653, the weather observation station located at the McKinney National Airport and about 8 miles east of the accident site recorded: wind from 200° at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, a clear sky, a temperature of 64° F, dew point 43° F, and an altimeter setting of 29.76 inches of mercury.

Astronomical data from the U.S. Navy Observatory for McKinney, Texas, Collin county, recorded a sunrise at 0730, sunset at 1730, and the end of civil twilight at 1757.

Airport Information

Airport: Aero Country Airport (T31)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 765 ft
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: 17
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4352 ft / 60 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern 

The Aero Country Airport (T31) is a privately owned, open to the public, non-towered airport, located 4 miles west of McKinney, Texas. Pilots are to use the CTAF for communications. T31 has a single asphalt runway oriented 17/35, and 4,352 ft long by 60 ft wide. The airport is at an elevation of 765 ft.

The T31 airport is situated underneath the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas class B airspace, and inside the 30-nautical mile (transponder) mode C vail. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.206667, -96.732778 

The Luscombe impacted a residential street east of the airport and came to rest in a near vertical attitude. Evidence of fuel was present at the accident site, and there was no post-crash fire. The wreckage was removed from the street and was examined. Impact marks and paint/tire transfer marks found on the vertical stabilizer and left rear of the fuselage on the Luscombe were attributed to the Piper. A piece of the Piper wing skin was found among the Luscombe wreckage. The left stabilizer and elevator were missing, and not located during the on-scene portion of the investigation. The stabilizer and elevator were located near a fenced off dumpster and turned over to investigators on February 7, 2017.

The Piper impacted an open concrete area of a storage facility, about one-quarter mile east of the Luscombe. The wreckage was scattered just beyond the initial ground impact point and came to rest near storage lockers. A post-crash fire consumed a portion of the wreckage. Impact and fire damage prevented verification of flight control continuity; however, examination of the flight control cables revealed overload failures and first responder cuts. The landing gear appeared to be extended. Several pieces of unidentified metal skin from the Luscombe were found with the Piper wreckage. 

Communications

Neither pilot was in contact with an air traffic control facility, nor were they required to be. Witnesses reported that they heard the pilot of the Luscombe on the radio CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency)), recognizing his voice. They added that there were other radio transmissions, but wasn't sure if they were from the Piper pilot or not.

Medical And Pathological Information

The Office of the Collin County Medical Examiner, McKinney, Texas conducted autopsies on the pilots. The cause of deaths was determined to be: "blunt force injuries".

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on both pilots. The specimens were not tested for cyanide and carbon monoxide. The tests were negative for ethanol and tested drugs.

Additional Information

Excerpts from FAA Advisory Circular AC 90-66B, Non -Towered Airport Flight Operations

This AC calls attention to regulatory requirements, recommended operations, and communications procedures for operating at an airport without a control tower or an airport with a control tower that operates only part time. It recommends traffic patterns, communications phraseology, and operational procedures for use by aircraft, lighter-than-air aircraft, gliders, parachutes, rotorcraft, and ultralight vehicles.

10.1 Recommended Traffic Advisory Practices. All traffic within a 10-mile radius of a non-towered airport or a part-time-towered airport when the control tower is not operating should continuously monitor and communicate, as appropriate, on the designated CTAF until leaving the area or until clear of the movement area. After first monitoring the frequency for other traffic present passing within 10 miles from the airport, self-announcing of your position and intentions should occur between 8 and 10 miles from the airport upon arrival. Departing aircraft should continuously monitor/communicate on the appropriate frequency from startup, during taxi, and until 10 miles from the airport, unless 14 CFR or local procedures require otherwise.

11 RECOMMENDED STANDARD TRAFFIC PATTERN. The following information is intended to supplement the AIM [Aeronautical Information Manual], paragraph 4-3-3, Traffic Patterns, and the PHAK [ Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge], Chapter 14.

11.3 Traffic Pattern Entry. Arriving aircraft should be at traffic pattern altitude and allow for sufficient time to view the entire traffic pattern before entering. Entries into traffic

patterns while descending may create collision hazards and should be avoided. Entry to the downwind leg should be at a 45-degree angle abeam the midpoint of the runway to be used for landing. The pilot may use discretion to choose an alternate type of entry, especially when intending to cross over midfield, based upon the traffic and communication at the time of arrival.

Note: Aircraft should always enter the pattern at pattern altitude, especially when flying over midfield and entering the downwind directly. A midfield crossing alternate pattern entry should not be used when the pattern is congested. Descending into the traffic pattern can be dangerous, as one aircraft could descend on top of another aircraft already in the pattern. All similar types of aircraft, including those entering on the 45-degree angle to downwind, should be at the same pattern altitude so that it is easier to visually acquire any traffic in the pattern.