Friday, March 06, 2020

Piper PA-23-250 Aztec C, N335W: Accident occurred March 05, 2020 near Stanley County Airport (VUJ), Albemarle, Stanly County, North Carolina.

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location:Albemarle, NC
Accident Number: ERA20LA127
Date & Time: 03/05/2020, 1422 EDT
Registration: N335W
Aircraft: Piper PA23
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On March 5, 2020, about 1422 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-23-250, N335W, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Stanley County Airport (VUJ), Albemarle, North Carolina. The airline transport pilot and pilot receiving instruction were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the owner of the airplane was not onboard during the accident flight but was taking a video recording of the accident takeoff. The owner did not possess a multiengine land rating. The owner's flight instructor was seated in the left seat, receiving a "check out" in the airplane from the pilot-in-command (PIC) flight instructor in the right seat. After the "check out," the owner's flight instructor could then provide training to the owner. The accident flight was the first flight after an annual inspection was completed on the airplane. Additionally, the airplane was completely fueled prior to the accident flight.

According to the PIC, during initial climb, about 200 ft above ground level, the pilot receiving instruction was the pilot flying. The PIC noticed a decrease in airspeed and the pilot receiving instruction stated that the engines were losing power. The PIC immediately made sure the mixture levers were full rich, and the propeller and manifold levers were full forward. He also switched on the electric fuel pumps, which had not been turned on prior to takeoff. The PIC further stated that the electric fuel pump switches were on the far left of the instrument panel and he was unable to see their position prior to the loss of engine power.

The PIC then coached the pilot receiving instruction to push forward on the yoke to retain airspeed; however, the airplane was too fast to land back on the remaining runway. The engines never recovered power and they climbed over trees at the end of the runway before making a hard landing in a muddy field.

Examination of the accident site by the FAA inspector revealed that during impact with the field, the airplane slid for about 190 ft. The left main landing gear separated and the nose gear collapsed, followed by the airplane rotating 180° before coming to rest upright. The inspector observed damage to the left wing spar, left wheel well, nose wheel well, and lower fuselage.

The airplane and a copy of the video recorded by the airplane's owner were retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Model/Series: PA23 250
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: VUJ, 609 ft msl
Observation Time: 1415 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3100 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 70°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Albemarle, NC (VUJ)
Destination: Albemarle, NC (VUJ)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 35.416667, -80.150833 (est)

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