Sunday, October 18, 2020

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, N4673R: Accident occurred October 17, 2020 in Puyallup, Pierce County, 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: Puyallup, WA 
Accident Number: WPR21LA017
Date & Time: October 17, 2020, 17:42 Local
Registration: N4673R
Aircraft: Piper PA28 
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under:

On October 17, 2020, about 1742 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140 airplane, N4673R, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near the Pierce County Airport – Thun Field (PLU), Puyallup, Washington. The certified flight instructor (CFI), one student, and one passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

The CFI and student pilot reported that they conducted two uneventful touch and go landings. After turning crosswind to set up for another touch and go, the airplane’s engine sputtered and lost complete power. The CFI took over the controls and executed a forced landing onto a nearby parking lot. During the landing the airplane struck trees before it came to a rest. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage.

The airplane was recovered for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper Registration: N4673R
Model/Series: PA28 140 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation: PLU,538 ft msl 
Observation Time: 17:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C /8°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 7500 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Puyallup, WA 
Destination: Puyallup, WA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 47.0877,-122.29114 (est)

A plane crashed Saturday evening in the 18700 block of East 187th St. in Puyallup. The Graham Fire and Rescue firefighters and paramedics arrived on the scene. Three people were onboard when the plane lost power and crashed into a parking lot, according to Graham Fire & Rescue. All three were able to walk away without injuries.

The pilot initially flying the plane was a student pilot, according to Graham Fire spokesperson Steve Richards. When the plane lost power, the flight instructor pilot immediately took over control of the plane. The third passenger was in the back seat. The pilot was unable to re-start the engine after the plane lost power.

Richards said the pilot was aware of the houses in the area and looked for a clearing to try to land the plane. He tried to land the plane in an open field. They touched down in the field, came across the street and came to rest in a church parking lot, without hitting any cars along the way.

Somehow, this was the second plane crash in the area just this week. 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.

Richards, who has been in the area for some time, said he’s actually seen something like this in the past.


  1. Second accident within a week in same area? Bad fuel?

  2. Yeah that is most unusual but I doubt bad fuel. There are dozens of departures out of there (PLU) daily according to Flightaware and many are for the flight school based there as this one was.

  3. First crash was a de-registered C152 that was a newly purchased ramp queen trying to fly out of Thun to Auburn, a quick flight. It was in poor shape and neglected. This one is a different case and you probably can't compare the two other than this is really poor timing for public relations next to the airport, which is being surrounded by new subdivisions.

  4. Classic Piper accident, wing broken off. Cessna could be crumbled up in a ball but wings still attached (don't hate me, I am a Piper owner!).

  5. Good save. Used the wings to dissipate energy. Flew it instead of stalled it.

  6. I was with a student on final when this happened. Watched the whole thing. He was cool and calm on the radio. Tried to turn back to the airport initially but decided better and elected to fly it in to somewhere reachable rather than stretch a glide. Did a great job finding a place, the departure end of 17 has little but subdivisions, trees, conjested roads, and powerlines to choose from.