Saturday, December 12, 2020

Piper PA-24-180 Comanche, N7639P: Accident occurred December 12, 2020 near John C. Tune Airport (KJWN), Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee

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; Nashville, Tennessee

Location: Nashville, TN 
Accident Number: ERA21LA070
Date & Time: December 12, 2020, 12:50 Local 
Registration: N7639P
Aircraft: Piper PA24 
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On December 12, 2020, about 1250 central standard time, a Piper PA-24-180 airplane, N7639P, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Nashville, Tennessee. The commercial pilot incurred minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that he departed with 54 gallons of fuel for the cross-country flight and switched tanks every 30 minutes while enroute. After an un-eventful enroute segment of flight, during the approach, about 7 nautical miles from the destination, the pilot reported that he observed a “significant drop in manifold pressure and change in engine noise, best described as a steady roll-back.” He reported that at the time of the loss of engine power, the airplane was still in a “cruise configuration” with the mixture leaned and the landing gear up.

The pilot subsequently pitched for best glide speed, began looking for an open area to land, and started troubleshooting the loss of power. He reported that he switched the fuel selector from the left tank to the right tank, moved the mixture and propeller levers full forward, turned on the boost pump, and engaged the engine starter, however, none of the actions restored power. The pilot continued his approach to a field that had trees and a house in the flight path. Just prior to impact the pilot reported that he could feel the onset of an aerodynamic stall and the airplane touchdown hard and skidded to a stop in the field.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector found that the fuselage and both wings sustained substantial damage. Flight and engine control continuity was established. A total of about 7 gallons of fuel was drained from the left fuel tank, and 1/8 to 1/4 cup was drained from the right fuel tank. There was no debris or discoloration noted with the fuel, and no damage to the fuel tanks or evidence of fuel leakage was discovered at the accident site. There was no evidence of fuel at the inlet side of the electrical fuel pump nor was there any remnants of fuel discovered at the outlet side of the engine driven fuel pump.

During postaccident interviews and correspondence, the pilot reported that he had not turned on the carburetor heat in the preceding 30 minutes before the engine failure and did not engage the lever after the failure. He also reported that both fuel gauges indicated levels just below half tanks about 45 minutes before his expected arrival time and estimated that each tank should have been about 1/3 to 1/2 full about the time of the loss of power.

Review of the FAA Carburetor Icing Chart found that the airplane was at risk of serious icing at glide power given the atmospheric conditions reported near the accident site.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N7639P
Model/Series: PA24 180
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: JWN,501 ft msl
Observation Time: 12:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C /11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 3200 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 230°
Lowest Ceiling: 
None Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.84 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Enterprise, AL (EDN)
Destination: Nashville, TN (JWN)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 36.047696,-86.947017 (est)

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) — A small plane crashed Saturday afternoon in Bellevue near Highway 100.

Crews responded around 1 p.m. along the 7000 block of Highway 100.

Officers on scene said the pilot had minor injuries, with lacerations to head and face. He was taken to Vanderbilt.

No other injuries have been reported.

Initial assessment indicates the plane's engine failed, according to MNPD.

Online tracking of the plane's flight schedule shows it departed from Ozark, Alabama around 10:30 a.m. and was scheduled to land at the John C. Tune airport around 12:30 p.m.

BELLEVUE, Tennessee  — A small aircraft crashed into a field near Highway 100 in Bellevue, according to officials with the Federal Aviation Administration. 

The Piper PA-24-180 Comanche crashed in a field near John C. Tune Airport. 

The pilot was the sole person aboard, Federal Aviation Administration officials said.

Nashville Fire Department personnel are on the scene of the incident. 

"As of now, we have not transported anyone," Nashville Fire Department spokesperson Joseph Pleasant said. "There is one patient that has a laceration to the head and no other injuries have been reported at this time." 

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the flight departed from Cairns Army Airfield in Fort Rucker, Alabama, with John C. Tune Airport as the intended destination.


  1. The engine lost power evidently but I wonder why he couldn't land it the big flat field over there.

  2. This is the exact location of this incident.

  3. Head and face lacerations, sounds like it didn't have shoulder harnesses. If it did, there may not have been any injuries!


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