Sunday, February 28, 2021

Loss of Control on Ground: Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six, N1409X; accident occurred March 27, 2020 at Fairbanks International Airport (PAFA), Alaska

Accident airplane at accident site. 

Accident airplane’s damaged engine mount. 

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fairbanks, Alaska

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Fairbanks, AK
Accident Number: ANC20CA040
Date & Time: 03/27/2020, 1800 AKS
Registration: N1409X
Aircraft: Piper PA32
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries:1 None 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot was attempting to land in strong gusting, crosswind conditions. After touchdown, the airplane veered sharply left, exited the runway, and impacted a snowbank, which resulted in substantial damage to the engine mount. The pilot stated that the accident may have been prevented if he had received more instruction in crosswind conditions.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inadequate compensation for gusting crosswind conditions, which resulted in a loss of directional control, a runway excursion, and impact with a snowbank.


Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Environmental issues Gusts - Response/compensation
Environmental issues Snow/ice - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing Other weather encounter
Landing-flare/touchdown Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Landing-flare/touchdown Runway excursion
Landing-flare/touchdown Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 58, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/21/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/03/2020
Flight Time:  86.9 hours (Total, all aircraft), 41.1 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Model/Series: PA32 300
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1975
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 32-7540155
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/01/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2203.16 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-K1A5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 300 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:None  

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 0153 UTC
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 20000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 15 knots / 23 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 70°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.91 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: -10°C / -22°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Ruby, AK (RBY)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Fairbanks, AK (FAI)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1630 AKS
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Fairbanks Intl (FAI)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation:439 ft 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 02R
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6501 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Straight-in

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion:None 
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 64.815000, -147.856389 (est)

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