Sunday, May 17, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian, N863RB; accident occurred November 25, 2017 at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (KPIE), Pinellas County, Florida

View of airplane at rest.
Federal Aviation Administration

 View of fuselage damage. 
Federal Aviation Administration

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida
Hartzell Propeller; Piqua, Ohio 

Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida 
Pratt & Whitney; Bridgeport, West Virginia 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Clearwater, FL
Accident Number: ERA18LA031
Date & Time: 11/25/2017, 1315 EST
Registration: N863RB
Aircraft: PIPER PA46
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries:1 Minor 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On November 25, 2017, about 1315 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-46-500TP, N863RB, was substantially damaged when it experienced a loss of engine power during the initial climb from St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport (PIE), Clearwater, Florida. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by a corporation as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that was destined for Pensacola International Airport (PNS), Pensacola, Florida.

According to the pilot, he performed a preflight inspection of the airplane and engine runup with no anomalies noted. The takeoff roll and lift off from runway 36 were "normal;" however, when he initiated a landing gear retraction, the engine torque decreased to 300-400 [ft-lbs], and rpm remained at 2,000. The torque surged back toward full power; however, he could not recall how high. The pilot initiated a 20° right turn in anticipation to return to the runway, and throughout the engine continued to surge. The pilot attempted to return to the runway instead of landing in the water; however, the left wing of the airplane struck the ground and it came to rest near runway 18.

Initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the left wing was impact separated. The right wing remained attached to the fuselage. The fuselage was partially separated at the cabin section of the airframe. The engine remained attached to the airframe and the propeller remained attached to the engine.

According to the pilot, he held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land and instrument airplane. In addition, he held a flight instructor certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on October 11, 2017. He reported 15,000 hours of total flight time, of which, 25 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. In addition, in the previous 90 days, he had accumulated 35 hours of flight time.

According to FAA airworthiness records, the airplane was manufactured in 2005. It was powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42A, 850-shaft-horsepower engine equipped with a Hartzell constant-speed propeller. According to airplane maintenance logbooks, the most recent annual inspection was completed on April 1, 2017, at a total time of 1,341.0 hours and 912 cycles.

Examination of the airframe revealed that the there were no blockages noted with the fuel system. The both electric fuel pumps were tested, and no anomalies were noted. In addition, fuel similar to Jet A was noted in the right-wing during recovery of the airplane. The left fuel tank was breached.

The engine and propeller were removed from the airplane for further examination.

Examination of the propeller revealed that all four propeller blades were bent aft, opposite the direction of rotation, and twisted towards a low pitch blade angle. Two blades fractured approximately 8 inches outboard of the blade shank and separated from the propeller assembly during the impact sequence. In addition, chordwise scratching and leading-edge gouging was noted. When the propeller was disassembled, all of the blades were not in a feathered position and the pitch change components were impact damaged. The beta ring was removed, and no anomalies were noted. There were no anomalies noted with the propeller that would have precluded normal operation prior to the accident.

The engine was sent to the manufacturer for further examination and teardown. The first stage power turbine exhibited rotational scoring. The compressor turbine rotated with no binding or scraping. The disk and blade fir tree faces of the compressor turbine exhibited rotational scoring. The axial compressors were rotated without anomaly. They were all removed and examined. The turbine blades exhibited a small amount of rotational scoring. The two bleed valves were removed and could be actuated by hand. The o-rings and gaskets were examined with no cracking noted. There were no anomalies noted with the engine that would have precluded normal operation prior to the accident.

The fuel pump, fuel control, fuel filter, torque controller, and propeller governor were removed and sent to Pratt & Whitney Canada for further examination . Each component was tested an no anomalies were noted.

The data acquisition unit (DAU) was removed from the airframe and sent to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for data download. The DAU was an engine instrument display system that also included dual instrument panel mounted displays and various engine and fuel tank sensors. It recorded engine condition trim monitoring data, exceedances, and fault data on two channels; both channels of the DAU were downloaded. There were no engine condition trend monitoring data nor exceedances recorded on the day of the accident. Two faults were recorded on the day of the accident which noted "oil press AtoD reversion failure" and "Torque AtoD reversion failure.; however, the faults could not be correlated to the accident. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Flight Engineer
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam:10/11/2017
Occupational Pilot:Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/20/2017
Flight Time:   15000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 25 hours (Total, this make and model), 7500 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 35 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N863RB
Model/Series: PA46 500TP
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2005
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 4697213
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/01/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 5130 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 26 Hours
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 1341 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney
ELT: Installed
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-42A
Registered Owner: BELLEAIRE LLC
Rated Power: 850 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held:None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PIE, 11 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1331 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 167°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Clearwater, FL (PIE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed:IFR
Destination: PENSACOLA, FL (PNS)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 1315 EST
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 10 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 36
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 9730 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 27.924167, -82.691389 (est)

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