Friday, April 30, 2021

Piper PA-28-161, N271SG: Accident occurred April 29, 2021 in Okeechobee, Florida

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; Orlando, Florida

American Air Academy Inc

Location: Okeechobee, FL
Accident Number: ERA21LA213
Date & Time: April 29, 2021, 10:52 Local 
Registration: N271SG
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-161
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On April 29, 2021, about 1052 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-161, N271SG, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Okeechobee, Florida. The private pilot was seriously injured, and the student pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the private pilot, the purpose of the cross-country flight was for both pilots to build-up flight time. The airplane was at an altitude about 5,500 ft mean sea level (msl), when the engine began running rough. The private pilot applied carburetor heat, but the engine continued to lose power, followed by a sudden drop in rpm. He noticed a drop in fuel pressure and turned on the fuel pump, but engine power was not restored. When the airplane was about 2,000 ft msl, the student pilot assumed control of the airplane and she subsequently performed a forced landing to a field.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector who responded to the accident site, the airplane came to rest in a muddy ditch and sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.

The airplane and engine were recovered for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N271SG
Model/Series: PA-28-161 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot school (141)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: OBE,33 ft msl 
Observation Time: 10:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C /21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots / , 180°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Altimeter Setting: 30.07 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Immokalee, FL (KIMM)
Destination: Merritt Island, FL (KCOI)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude:  27.240701,-80.965417 (est)

Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office
April 29, 2021

At approximately 11:02 a.m., Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office received a 911 transfer from Highlands County Sheriff's Office from a pilot who had just made an emergency crash landing somewhere thought to be in our county between SR 78 and Hwy 70 West. 

Simultaneously OCSO Communications were also receiving notifications through Federal Aviation Administration Miami and the United States Airforce Command that a small passenger plane went down near the boundaries of our county. 

After searching several areas, the aircraft was found in a cow pasture roughly 1500 feet off of SR 70 in Glades County. 

The pilot and only passenger survived the landing but were flown from the scene by trauma alert due to their injuries sustained. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.

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