Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Piper PA-28-151 Cherokee Warrior, N33859: Accident occurred September 27, 2020 at Union County Airport-Troy Shelton Field (35A), South Carolina

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; Columbia, South Carolina


Location: Union, SC
Accident Number: ERA20LA335
Date & Time: September 27, 2020, 09:00 Local
Registration: N33859
Aircraft: Piper PA28
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under:

On September 27, 2020, about 0900 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-151, N33859, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Union, South Carolina. The private pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to a witness, the pilot told him that he had an appointment in Georgetown, South Carolina. The witness advised the pilot multiple times to “leave the airplane on the ground” because of the “heavy fog” conditions. The pilot departed Union County Airport (35A), Union, South Carolina, and approximately 20 minutes later, the witness stated that the pilot came back and announced over the radio that he could not see the ground. The witness talked to the pilot using the airport’s common traffic advisory frequency and attempted to guide him back to the airport, however the pilot stated he was having “engine trouble” and struck trees in the vicinity of the airport.

Multiple witnesses reported hearing “popping sounds” and that the engine “didn’t sound good” prior to the accident.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector who responded to the accident location reported that the airplane came to rest in a wooded area and a post impact fire ensued, which consumed most of the cabin. The wings of the airplane separated from the fuselage and the leading edges exhibited impact damage.

The airframe and engine were recovered and retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N33859
Model/Series: PA28 151
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: IMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: LUX,696 ft msl 
Observation Time: 08:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C /15°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 200 ft AGL 
Visibility: 5 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Union, SC
Destination: Georgetown, SC

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious 
Latitude, Longitude: 34.686953,-81.641167 (est)

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