Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Piper PA-34-200 Seneca, N41382: Accident occurred August 17, 2020 near Groton-New London Airport (KGON), Connecticut

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 Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Windsor Locks, Connecticut
Piper Aircraft Inc; Vero Beach, Florida

Upgrade Incorporated


Location: Groton, CT
Accident Number: ERA20LA287
Date & Time: 08/17/2020, 2236 EDT
Registration: N41382
Aircraft: Piper PA34
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On August 17, 2020, about 2236 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-34-200, N41382, was substantially damaged when it impacted a house near the Groton-New London Airport (GON), Groton, Connecticut. The certified flight instructor (flight instructor) and pilot undergoing instruction (PUI) sustained minor injuries. An occupant of the house was not injured as a result of the collision but sustained throat irritation due to fuel smell. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

According to the flight instructor, the flight departed GON about 1700 hours, and flew direct to Bangor International Airport (BGR), Bangor, Maine, where the flight landed uneventfully, and the fuel tanks were filled. According to ADS-B data the flight departed BGR at 2002, then proceeded to Augusta State Airport, Augusta Maine, and then to Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine, where the flight instructor indicated that the PUI performed one, and three touch-and-go landings, respectively. After the last touch-and-go landing the flight proceeded to GON where the PUI performed two touch-and-go landings to runway 23. The flight departed and remained in the traffic pattern for the same runway, where, when abeam the approach end of runway 23 with the landing gear extended and 10° of flaps extended, the PUI began to descend while turning onto the base leg of the airport traffic pattern. The flight instructor stated that at time he heard an engine sputter and verified the controls were in the proper position. He heard the engine sputter again and "felt the [airplane] jerk" and stated, "my controls." He maintained airspeed and verified the engine controls were full forward, retracted the flaps but decided to leave the landing gear extended due to the altitude and proximity to the airport. He verified the malfunction to be the right engine and felt it was developing some power, but with "less output" than the left. He briefly pitched nose-down, then nose-up, and when he noticed a high decent rate, he feathered the right propeller and placed the right mixture control to idle cutoff. He looked for a place to land and maneuvered for landing on a street. While flaring to land, he felt a collision.

The airplane came to rest suspended by the roof structure of the house. The airplane was recovered for further examination of the airframe, engine and its systems, and propeller systems.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N41382
Model/Series:PA34 200
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Upgrade Incorporated
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: GON, 9 ft msl
Observation Time: 2256 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 19°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 1500 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 220°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.87 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Bangor, ME (BGR)
Destination: Groton, CT (GON)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:2 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:N/A
Aircraft Fire:None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 41.350833, -72.024167

Groton — The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that it continues to investigate the Monday night plane crash into a home on Ring Drive, and the Groton company that owns the twin-engine aircraft said it is working with investigators.  

The Piper PA-34, built in 1974, is registered to Upgrade Incorporated of 155 Tower Ave. in Groton, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.   

“We are cooperating with the FAA and the investigators,” Upgrade Incorporated President Ryan Gauthier said on Wednesday. He said he is not able to comment further, since the investigation is underway.  

The plane was en route to Groton-New London Airport when it crashed about 10:38 p.m. Monday, according to the Connecticut Airport Authority.

Groton Town police Chief Louis J. Fusaro has said the resident of the home at 243 Ring Drive was not injured and the two men on the plane were transported to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. Authorities haven't released the identity of the plane's occupants.

According to the FlightAware website, the plane’s schedule on Monday was to leave Groton-New London at 5:09 p.m. for arrival at Bangor International Airport in Maine, and then depart near Augusta, Maine, at 8:37 p.m. for arrival at Groton-New London Airport at 10:27 p.m. The NTSB did not confirm the flight schedule.

NTSB Spokesman Eric Weiss said the agency is gathering and confirming details about the accident, which has been assigned to an investigator. He said more information will be available once the NTSB releases a preliminary report within the next two weeks.

The FAA said the NTSB will be providing all further updates on the crash.  

The homeowner, Kenneth Johnson, 73, told The Day on Tuesday that he was sleeping in his bedroom Monday night when the plane went through his home’s roof. He was able to leave the home through his bedroom window. While he was not injured, he said he was overcome by odors from the plane fuel.

Will Healey, media relations manager with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the Connecticut Airport Authority estimated that about 16 gallons of aviation fuel may have leaked from the plane, with the majority believed to have leaked inside the home.  

DEEP provided the responsible party with a list of environmental contractors to provide to their insurance company for cleanup, and DEEP will follow up to ensure it was properly completed, he said.  

“At this time, DEEP staff do not believe there is a significant environmental impact or public health risk as a result of this crash,” Healey added.  


GROTON, Connecticut (WFSB) - Federal investigators are trying to figure out how a plane crashed into a home in Groton.

The small plane went through the roof of the home on Ring Drive Monday night, about a mile short of the runway at Groton-New London Airport.

Everyone inside the home and onboard the aircraft is expected to be OK.

Family members of the man who was inside the home identified him as Kenneth Johnson.

Officials said the plane plummeted down directly on top of the roof of the ranch-style home.

Despite the violent collision, the crash did not spark a fire, which officials called "very important."

Johnson was the only person inside the house at the time of the wreck. He got out safely.

Johnson told Channel 3 he was sound asleep when he was awoken by the sound. When he smelled fuel, he jumped out his back window.

A student pilot and his flight instructor onboard the plane were both able to pull themselves out of the aircraft.

They were taken to Lawrence and Memorial Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Police have not identified any of the people involved in the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board took the lead on the investigation into what caused the crash.

It said on Tuesday afternoon that its investigators were not traveling to the scene and that the wreckage was being removed to a secure location for further examination.

Neighbors described the scene as "chaotic."

Johnson's son-in-law told Channel 3 that Johnson thought someone had broken into his house when the plane crashed.

"It’s crazy to even think his thought process was he heard somebody outside yelling," said Joe De la Cruz, Johnson's son-in-law. "He couldn’t really decipher what was going on and he went to his front door and locked it because he thought someone was trying to break in to his house and then he saw the ceiling falling down and went to the back of the house and locked that door and then jumped out of his window.”

Tammy De la Cruz, Johnson's daughter raced to the house she grew up in as soon as she heard about the crash.

"I ran as fast as I could, jumped to get down here. When I saw it I just fell to my knees. I thought he wasn't going to be alive," Tammy said.

Groton police Chief Louis Fusaro said when the facts are examined along with the damage left behind, it was a near miracle that no one was killed.

"We were fortunate here. There were injuries, but no fatalities, but two occupants of the aircraft were taken to the hospital. Let’s make sure they’re all right, but it could have been a lot worse," Fusaro said.

While NTSB is leading the investigation, local police and firefighters arrived at the scene just minutes after the crash. They made sure things didn't get any worse.



  1. There was no fire, which officials called 'very important'.

  2. Read an article that said the homeonwer smelled fuel and that the environmental officials (EPA?) were on the scene and estimated that about 16 gal of av fuel had leaked out of the plane into the home. It didn't mention how they determined that. I believe this is the article (I read several) which is now behind a paywall: https://www.theday.com/policefirecourts/20200819/investigation-into-groton-plane-crash-continues