Monday, February 24, 2020

Loss of Control on Ground: Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, N6520W; accident occurred February 16, 2020 at Paul C. Miller–Sparta Airport (8D4), Kent County, Michigan

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Sparta, MI
Accident Number:CEN20CA089 
Date & Time: 02/16/2020, 1250 EST
Registration: N6520W
Aircraft: Piper PA28
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

The student pilot reported that before the accident flight he and his flight instructor had made 3 uneventful landings on the snow-covered runway before his flight instructor exited the airplane to allow him to make his first solo flight. The student pilot stated that his first solo landing resulted in "a bit of sliding" and that the airplane had come to a stop about 90° to the desired runway heading. The student pilot taxied the airplane back to the ramp where he and his instructor discussed the landing, and both agreed to continue with the solo flight. The student pilot reported that during his second solo landing the airplane slid to the left upon touchdown, and that he was unable to regain directional control with right rudder before the airplane slid into a snowbank beside the runway. The outboard 3 ft of the left wing was substantially damaged when it impacted the ground. The student pilot stated that there were no mechanical malfunctions with the airplane during the flight. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction with the flight controls, nosewheel steering, or wheel brakes. Most of the runway was covered with 1-2 inches of snow/slush at the time of the accident. It is likely that the student pilot landed the airplane on a snow/slush covered portion of the runway when he lost directional control. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 27, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied:Left 
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/01/2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/16/2020
Flight Time:  15.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 13.4 hours (Total, this make and model), 0 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 8.3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2.1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1.2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N6520W
Model/Series: PA28 140
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1965
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28-20599
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/06/2020, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2150 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5155.05 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320
Registered Owner: P T Arts LLC
Rated Power: 160 hp
Operator: P T Arts LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: GRR, 794 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1253 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 155°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2100 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 6000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 13 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 250°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 2°C / -5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Sparta, MI (8D4)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Sparta, MI (8D4)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1245 EST
Type of Airspace:Class G 

Airport Information

Airport: Sparta Airport (8D4)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 775 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Slush covered; Snow
Runway Used: 25
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4032 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 43.127500, -85.679167 (est)

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