Sunday, July 12, 2020

Piper PA-22-135 Tri-Pacer, N3604A: Accident occurred July 04, 2020 and Incident occurred June 17, 2020

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Juneau, Alaska

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Soldotna, AK
Accident Number: ANC20LA064
Date & Time: 07/04/2020, 1523 AKD
Registration: N3604A
Aircraft: Piper PA22
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On July 4, 2020, about 1523 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA-22 airplane, N3604A, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Soldotna, Alaska. The private pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that once established in a cruise, level flight configuration, around 1,300 ft mean sea level (msl), he heard and felt a "pop" that appeared to emanate from somewhere in the airplane. He said that the airplane then began a shallow, uncommanded descent, and the elevator began to "flutter." The pilot noted that the elevator was not "stuck", but he was unable to maintain altitude. The pilot subsequently selected a paved, rural neighborhood road as an emergency landing site. During touchdown, the airplane landed hard, and the main landing gear collapsed, sustaining substantial damage to the left wing, both wing lift struts, and the fuselage.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector examined the airplane after recovery and reported that flight control continuity was established. The inspector noted that the area above the windscreen, where the fabric was connected to the fuselage, had separated. He also indicated that the fabric did not tear, rather the adhesive that held the fabric to the structure failed, and a portion of the fabric peeled aft.

Picture from Scene (Photo courtesy of Alaska State Trooper) 

FAA Airworthiness Directive (AD) 74-17-04, applies, in part, to Piper PA-22 series airplanes. In short, the AD provides instructions for installing a reinforcement metal strip to avoid a sudden failure of the fabric at the top of the windscreen where the fabric attaches to the channel.

Picture of fabric above the windshield (Photo courtesy of the FAA) 

An NTSB wreckage and maintenance logbook examination, to include historical AD compliance, is pending. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N3604A
Model/Series: PA22 135
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: PASX, 113 ft msl
Observation Time: 2256 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 280°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:   10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Sterling, AK (AK84)
Destination: Homer, AK (HOM)

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: 60.450000, -150.933333 (est)

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fairbanks, Alaska

June 17, 2020: Aircraft wheel departed upon takeoff at at Bettles Airport (PABT), Alaska.

Date: 17-JUN-20
Time: 08:15:00Z
Regis#: N3604A
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: 22
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91

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