Saturday, September 19, 2020

Piper PA-22-135 Tri-Pacer, N8875C: Accident occurred September 13, 2020 near Homer Airport (PAHO), Alaska

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; Anchorage, Alaska

Location: Homer, AK 
Accident Number: ANC20LA093
Date & Time: September 13, 2020, 16:32 Local 
Registration: N8875C
Aircraft: Piper PA22
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under:

On September 13, 2020, about 1632 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA-22 airplane, N8875C, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Homer, Alaska. The private pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that he was conducting a local flight from the Homer Airport (HOM) after the airplane had not flown for a month. While performing the preflight inspection, the pilot sumped each of the 4 low point fuel drains and recovered about 1/2 inch of water from the left wing tank drain. The other samples were clear. The wing tank fuel levels were about 3/4 full. The pilot stated that he taxied a long distance to runway 22 with the fuel selector on the right tank, and then switched to the left tank for takeoff. After takeoff and during the initial climb from runway 22, the engine experienced a total loss of power and the propeller continued to windmill. The pilot performed a forced landing to a beach on Kachemak Bay. During the landing, the left wing tip struck the surface, resulting in a loss of control and substantial damage to each wing and fuselage.

The pilot stated that the airport had experienced heavy rainfall the previous week, and that the wing fuel tank cap gaskets had recently been replaced due to wear and corrosion on the filler necks.

The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-290 engine.

The airframe and engine have been recovered and secured for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N8875C
Model/Series: PA22 135 Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAHO,84 ft msl
Observation Time: 16:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C /6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 250°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 3018 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Homer, AK (HOM) 
Destination: Homer, AK

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 59.63293,-151.50499 (est)

Two small aircraft crashed over the weekend in Homer in separate incidents, but neither event resulted in major injuries for the pilots or the passenger in one of the crashes.

The first incident happened on Friday night, right after Homer Volunteer Fire Department crews went to a boat fire at the Homer Harbor. Homer Police responded to the crash at the Homer Airport. There were no injuries in that crash.

The second crash occurred on Sunday afternoon when a Piper PA-22-135 Tri-Pacer lost power on takeoff and the pilot had a hard landing in the Mariner Park Slough. The pilot in the second crash was taken to South Peninsula Hospital with minor injuries.

Lt. Ryan Browning said last Friday that police got a call at 9:18 p.m. about a small plane having crashed at the airport. It was reported to have crashed at 8:33 p.m.

Upon arrival, Browning said the pilot of the Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche reported having issues during landing, and that the plane had started to pull to the left. It then continued off the runway, Browning said.

The pilot, a 47-year-old Wasilla man, and his passenger, a 42-year-old Wasilla woman, escaped injury. On Tuesday, Browning said that because there were no injuries, and because firefighters were busy with the harbor boat fire, dispatchers did not request assistance from fire department medics.

The plane’s tail was broken off and Browning said it appeared one of the wings was also broken.

“More importantly, no one was hurt,” he said.

Alaska State Troopers responded to the airport along with the Homer Police Department, and Browning said the Homer Airport Manager took over once he arrived.

In the Sunday crash, the pilot, a 74-year-old man, had to land the Piper PA-22-135 Tri-Pacer when it lost power while heading west over the Homer Spit Road and the Mariner Park Slough. The pilot was the only person on board. Browning said a Good Samaritan responded first to the crash site and was able to get the pilot out of the plane safely.

Homer Police, the Homer Volunteer Fire Department and Kachemak Emergency Services firefighters and medics responded.

The Piper 22-135 Tri-Pacer hit the soft sand, spinning around, bending the propeller and collapsing the landing gear. The left wingtip also was damaged.

“It landed in a good spot, considering,” Browning said.

The plane landed in a slough near Mariner Park west of the Homer Spit Road that on extreme high tides can be filled with water and is a common bird watching site during the spring shorebird migration. The crash happened right before the low tide at 6:26 p.m. Sunday and the area near the crash was totally dry.

HVFD Fire Chief Mark Kirko said no fuel was spilled in the Sunday crash. Browning said he did not think any fuel was spilled in the Friday crash. Kirko said a firefighter shut off fuel valves in the crashed plane on Sunday.

Kirko said one passerby recorded the accident in a video.

“It gets close to the ground. All you can see is a dusty cloud and it comes to an end,” Kirko said.

Firefighters responded to the scene and brought the victim to the Mariner Park parking lot. A Maritime Helicopters helicopter hoisted the plane out of the slough and brought it to the airport on Monday.

National Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating both crashes, said Terry Williams, an NTSB spokesperson based in Washington, D.C. He said a preliminary report with the basic facts of the incidents will be done within about 10 days, but that report will not have a finding of cause.

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