Friday, October 16, 2020

Cessna 152, N6585L: Accident occurred October 15, 2020 near Pierce County Airport (KPLU), Puyallup, Washington

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; Seattle, Washington

Location: South Hill, WA 
Accident Number: WPR21LA015
Date & Time: October 15, 2020, 16:15 Local 
Registration: N6585L
Aircraft: Cessna 152
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under:

On October 15, 2020, about 1615 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 152, N6585L sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near South Hill, Washington. The 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 had purchased the airplane 8 days prior to the accident via an online auction. The airplane was parked outside and partially covered for several years prior to the purchase. The pilot said that he worked on the airplane to facilitate an engine run, which included draining the fuel from wing fuel tanks and the airframe fuel filter, of which he observed a small amount of water present in the fuel. The pilot continued sump the fuel tanks and airframe fuel filter until no more water was present, and conducted multiple engine runs, with no issues noted. The day of the accident, he decided to relocate the airplane to Auburn, Washington. Following an uneventful engine runup, he initiated takeoff on runway 35. As the airplane ascended through about 250 ft above ground level, the engine partially lost power and rpm declined from 2,400 to 1,700. The pilot initiated a forced landing to a nearby parking lot and during the landing sequence, the airplane struck an unoccupied parked vehicle. 

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the fuselage and wings were structurally damaged. Evidence of fuel was observed at the accident site. The airplane was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N6585L
Model/Series: 152 Aircraft 
Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: 
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Altimeter Setting: 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

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: 47.113129,-122.29148 (est)

PUYALLUP, Washington — The pilot of a small plane crashed Thursday afternoon in the parking lot of a Pierce County strip shopping center, prompting authorities to close nearby roads while they responded to the incident.

The 53-year-old male pilot was flying alone in a Cessna 152. Authorities said the pilot was taken to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries after the crash, which occurred shortly after 4 p.m.

The plane apparently lost power shortly after taking off from the Pierce County Airport, also known as Thun Field.

The plane came to rest on it roof on top of a Volkswagen that was parked at the strip shopping center, located at 10408 156th St E in Puyallup. Party City is one of the businesses in the center.

No other injuries have been reported so far but motorists were urged to avoid the area.

Video from Air 4 showed a large section of the parking lot cordoned off by yellow crime scene tape. Firefighters were seen inspecting the downed aircraft after they responded to the scene.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Office was investigating the crash and officials from the National Transportation Safety Board were said to be en route to the scene.

It was not immediately clear what caused the plane to crash.


  1. Another horrific crash with minor injuries. Amazing and thankful.

  2. I could not wrap my head around how this crash impact happened with that Passat being relatively undamaged with the bird's broken back over it upside down. I had to go to the news link and hit the photos to see what happened. Photos 3 & 5 detail it with the impact marks in the parking lot spray painted by first responders. It appears the impact was a steep nose down which killed off most of the forward velocity and that energy loss translated to a nose-over and relatively soft impact into the car. Note the car's windshield, rear, and visible non-impact left side door glass aren't even shattered.

    1. Cars are designed to withstand being hit, airplanes are fairly light, and the pilot made a controlled landing - the collision probably happened at a low speed, and the car just happened to be in the way.

  3. From the article on N4673R:

    "A pilot survived the crash of his newly purchased small plane in a South Hill parking lot Thursday afternoon. The plane flipped upside down and struck an unoccupied vehicle."

    This could explain why the Cessna shows de-registered?

  4. impact moved the VW, limited spill, wing tanks intact. Wonder if a 3-point harnesses was in use?

  5. and the prop does not appear bent in photo 1.

  6. And to think he just missed the "Target" (store)

  7. Well, he made it to Party City, so let the party begin!
    I thought it was humorous that the article mentioned that Party City was one of the businesses found in the strip mall. Pertinent piece of crash info!

  8. What in the world is that stuff on the leading edge of wings and under wing strut? Old paint or dirt and grime?

  9. That plane just sold at auction for about $5000, if my memory is correct. The photos at Murphy Auction showed a real dog. It looked like it had been on the ramp for years; mold, mildew, faded paint, and NO log books. I'm amazed someone would try to fly that thing without major work first.