Sunday, November 01, 2020

Piper PA-28-140, N32458: Accident occurred October 26, 2020 near Seafood Warehouse Park Airport (XS77), Crystal Beach, Galveston County, Texas

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; Houston, Texas  

Location: Crystal Beach, TX 
Accident Number: CEN21LA035
Date & Time: October 26, 2020, 14:10 Local
Registration: N32458
Aircraft: Piper PA28 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:

On October 26, 2020, about 1410 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140 airplane, N32458, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Crystal Beach, Texas. The flight instructor and his student were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

The flight instructor reported that the accident occurred during a takeoff from a private airstrip adjacent to a restaurant. The flight instructor estimated that the grass airstrip was about 2,500 ft long by 35 ft long, and that the takeoff was made to the south-southeast. He stated that the grass runway condition was dry and had been recently used by other airplanes. The flight instructor reported that the airplane had about 26 gallons onboard before the flight, and that the airplane’s weight-and-balance and takeoff performance were verified and determined to be “suitable for the flight.”

The flight instructor reported that he and his student taxied the airplane to the north end of the airstrip where they completed a before-takeoff engine runup. The flight instructor noted that the airplane was configured with 1 notch (10°) of flaps before a soft-field takeoff was initiated with about 12 knots of headwind.

The flight instructor reported that his student performed the soft-field takeoff. After the airplane became airborne in ground effect, the student pilot reduced airplane pitch to increase airspeed to 80 knots. The flight instructor reported that during initial climb there was a drop in engine speed (RPM). The flight instructor reported that he confirmed the throttle control was full forward, but there was “no significant engine performance.” The flight instructor took control of the airplane from his student, reduced airplane pitch, and banked the airplane to avoid the highway and powerlines located at the end of the airstrip. The flight instructor stated that a lack of engine performance resulted in a forced landing before the airplane completed 90° of turn from the takeoff heading. The airplane landed on the northside of the highway before it collided with a power pole and came to stop. The flight instructor stated that following the accident the fuel selector, ignition switch, and electrical switches were turned off before he and his student exited the airplane uninjured.

The student pilot reported that after liftoff the airplane remained in ground effect until the airspeed increased to 75 knots. The student pilot reported that his flight instructor took control of the airplane when it did not “react” after he increased airplane pitch to climb out of ground effect. The student pilot reported that his flight instructor reduced airplane pitch and flew the plane to the ground.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N32458
Model/Series: PA28 140 
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: GLS,6 ft msl
Observation Time: 14:05 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C /21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 12 knots / 0 knots, 80°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 800 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.95 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Crystal Beach, TX 
Destination: Pearland, TX (LVJ)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 29.448511,-94.655192

A flight instructor and student pilot were uninjured after they had to make an emergency landing on Monday afternoon on the Bolivar Peninsula. However, their aircraft sustained significant damage.

According to Galveston County Emergency Services District #2 District Manager Doug Saunders, it happened at Crystal Beach after the two landed at a nearby 1,800 foot grass strip, which is popular with pilots because it’s next to the Tiki Beach Bar.

After having lunch, Saunders said they departed to go back to the Houston area, and then lost power. The unidentified pilot landed on grass next to Highway 87 and the leading edge of the port wing collided with the utility pole. The nose gear also collapsed, resulting in a ground strike by the propeller.

The Piper PA-28 Cherokee is registered to American Aircraft Management LLC out of Irving, Texas.

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