Saturday, December 26, 2020

Fuel Starvation: Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six, N7703J; accident occurred November 09, 2019 near David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport (KDWH), Harris County, Texas


Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Houston, Texas
Accident Number: CEN20LA018
Date & Time: November 9, 2019, 09:45 Local
Registration: N7703J
Aircraft: Piper PA32
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel starvation
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Factual Information

On November 9, 2019, about 0945 central standard time, a Piper PA-32 airplane, N7703J, lost engine power shortly after takeoff from David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport (DWH), Houston, Texas. The pilot sustained minor injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, shortly after takeoff from runway 35L the engine lost power. The pilot turned the airplane to the right, back toward the airport; due to the altitude at the time of the loss of engine power, he was unable to make it to the runway. The nose landing gear collapsed during the forced landing to a field. Both wings and the fuselage were substantially damaged.

During the airplane recovery, about 10 gallons of fuel was recovered from the left main fuel tank; the left wingtip fuel tank was impact damaged and was found empty. Both right wing fuel tanks were empty and neither tank was compromised. The fuel selector valve was selected to the right main tank.

After recovery, the engine was plumbed to an external fuel source; the engine started and ran without hesitation at various power settings. Further examination of the engine and related systems revealed that there were no mechanical anomalies that would preclude normal operations.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline transport; Commercial; Flight instructor
Age: 61, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane multi-engine; Airplane single-engine; Instrument airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Waiver time limited special 
Last FAA Medical Exam: September 4, 2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: September 16, 2019
Flight Time: 11218 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2 hours (Total, this make and model), 6388 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 164 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 48 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N7703J
Model/Series: PA32 260 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1968
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 32-1070
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle 
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: December 4, 2018 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5239.7 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-540-E4B5
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 260 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KDWH
Distance from Accident Site: 25 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 08:53 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 270°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: Turbulence Severity
Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.32 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No 
Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Houston, TX (DWH) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Houston, TX (DWH)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 09:45 Local
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: David Wayne Hooks Memorial Air DWH
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 152 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry; Vegetation
Runway Used:
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 30.079999,-95.559997(est)

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