Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Piper PA-23-250 Aztec E, N14181: Fatal accident occurred June 02, 2020 in Pan American pier, San Juan, Puerto Rico

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  San Juan, Puerto Rico

Blue Waters Air Charters LLC

Accident Number: ERA20LA202
Date & Time: 06/02/2020, 1333 AST
Registration: N14181
Aircraft: Piper PA23
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Flight Test 

On June 2, 2020, about 1333 Atlantic standard time, a Piper PA-23-250, N14181, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident during takeoff from Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (TJIG), San Juan, Puerto Rico. The airline transport pilot and one passenger were fatally injured while another passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 post-maintenance flight test.

The pilot-rated passenger, who also held an mechanic certificate, occupied the right front seat for the flight, and reported the purpose of the flight was to calibrate the airplane's horizontal situation indicator. He reported that the pilot taxied to runway 9 where an engine run-up was performed with no discrepancies noted. The pilot taxied onto the runway and immediately after applying power to takeoff the airplane yawed to the left. The pilot aborted the takeoff and while exiting the runway with the left engine at idle power it quit. The pilot continued to taxi and restarted the left engine, but had difficulty doing so. The pilot taxied to the ramp and attributed the left yaw was during the takeoff attempt to the left strut, which was low on nitrogen. The pilot-rated passenger exited the airplane and inspected both main landing gear struts and noted the left strut had more extension than the right. The pilot performed an engine run-up while on the ramp which included a check of the magnetos and cycling of the propellers with no reported discrepancies.

The pilot-rated passenger further stated that the pilot taxied to the runway, was cleared for takeoff, and when the pilot applied power the airplane again immediately yawed to the left. The pilot-rated passenger attributed the yaw to be a loss of power from the left engine, and the pilot applied right rudder and aileron input. The pilot elected to continue the takeoff, which the pilot-rated passenger described as a short/soft field takeoff procedure. During takeoff the airplane drifted left off runway centerline with the left engine not producing full power. The pilot used the normal landing gear position selector to attempt to retract the landing gear, but he did not recall seeing any green light. While climbing about 100 feet-per-minute at an airspeed that he described as being slow, the pilot was "fighting" the airplane. The airplane began turning to the left which he thought was the pilot turning to return, but then noted the airplane was in a nose-down attitude. After impacting water adjacent to the airport, he was knocked unconscious then "woke up" or regained consciousness. He initially had difficulty opening the door but was finally able to exit the airplane.

Security video, which captured the final portion of the flight, depicted the airplane rolling left past 90° of bank, pitching nose down, and impacting water north of the airport.

The airplane was recovered for examination of the airframe and engines.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N14181
Model/Series:PA23 250 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135)
Operator Does Business As:
Operator Designator Code: 2ISA

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: TJIG, 10 ft msl
Observation Time: 1333 AST
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C / 24°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 13 knots / , 80°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 10000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Departure Point: San Juan, PR (TJIG)
Destination: San Juan, PR (TJIG) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 18.458889, -66.091944 (est)

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