Saturday, January 04, 2020

Abrupt Maneuver: Ryan Navion D, N384TL; accident occurred January 20, 2019 at Harry P. Williams Memorial Airport (KPTN), Patterson, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana

View of damaged empennage without vertical stabilizer and rudder.

View of damaged empennage from rear.

View of damaged empennage.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Patterson, LA
Accident Number: GAA19CA115
Date & Time: 01/20/2019, 1345 CST
Registration: N384TL
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Abrupt maneuver
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, while on a 3-mile base leg, he encountered a flock of large birds. He aborted the base leg and rapidly descended the airplane to avoid the birds, but the birds followed. The pilot continued the dive and saw power lines nearby. He made an "evasive maneuver (dive down)" to avoid the power lines, but the vertical stabilizer struck the power lines, shearing off the vertical stabilizer and rudder.

The pilot maintained airplane control, climbed the airplane, declared "mayday," and requested flight following to an airport without a crosswind for landing. He approached at a higher airspeed to reduce the airplane's left turning tendencies, and during the landing roll, the airplane veered left off the runway into an adjacent field.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the vertical stabilizer and rudder.

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

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from power lines while making an evasive maneuver to avoid birds.


Personnel issues
Monitoring environment - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Wire - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern base
Abrupt maneuver (Defining event)

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

Runway excursion

Emergency descent
Part(s) separation from AC

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 51, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/23/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/23/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1327 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1000 hours (Total, this make and model), 1327 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 15.5 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4.4 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: NAVION
Registration: N384TL
Model/Series: NAVION D
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1948
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: NAV-4-1384
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/03/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3150 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2838.73 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-520-BA
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 285 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPTN, 9 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1956 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 287°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 310°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.28 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 0°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Gonzales, LA (REG)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Patterson, LA (PTN)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1326 CST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 8 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern

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: 29.707222, -91.296389 (est)


  1. That's amazing! Glad the good ol' Navion took care of everybody...

  2. Something sounds fishy with this story.

    1. I'm not buying the story either ... I doubt any birds were involved.

    2. He was chased by birds,after avoiding them,into the power lines?