Friday, August 13, 2021

North American T-28B Trojan, N392W: Accident occurred August 12, 2021 at Pierce County Airport - Thun Field (KPLU), Puyallup, Washington

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; Seattle, Washington

Buno 138314 LLC

Location: Puyallup, WA 
Accident Number: WPR21LA318
Date & Time: August 12, 2021, 14:43 Local
Registration: N392W
Aircraft: North American T-28B
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On August 12, 2021, about 1443 Pacific daylight time, a North American T-28B airplane, N392W, was substantially damaged when it was involved in at Pierce County Airport - Thun Field (PLU) Puyallup, Washington. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that he performed a short field landing and touched down on the numbers. During the landing rollout, the nose landing gear started to shimmy, and the airplane began to veer to the left of the runway. The pilot attempted to correct the drift with right brake, but was unsuccessful. As per Pilot Operating Handbook emergency procedure for nose shimmy, the pilot retracted the landing gear. The airplane slid down the runway into the adjacent grass area and started a grass fire.

The airplane was recovered and secured for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: North American
Registration: N392W
Model/Series: T-28B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: 
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Altimeter Setting: 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 47.10392,-122.2872 (est)


  1. Any idea if this was a gear system malfunction or pilot error?

    1. Flight track and last data point altitude shows he came straight in without circling, so you can rule out a known-before-flare gear problem that pilots circle for while resolving or waiting for Fire Department to be ready. Lots of burnt grass suggests he did not call ahead. FAA AIN says AIRCRAFT LANDED GEAR UP, not gear collapse.

      Forgot to put the gear down seems most likely.


    2. The gear was down on landing.

    3. I was present at the airport when this happened - did not witness the landing itself, but heard it and saw the dust cloud from behind a hangar - I'm not sure how much I should share, but based on the presence of tire skid marks on the runway, along with what I heard the pilot describing, the gear was down on landing. Regarding the fire, it spread post-landing, after most likely being started by the hot engine or exhaust system coming in contact with the grass. We had had several weeks with no rain and above-normal temperatures, so the grass and everything else was bone dry, and with the help of the wind, the fire spread extremely quickly. The local Fire Department(s) had the fire essentially out within 5-10 minutes of their arrival (which was about 5 minutes after the crash).

  2. Another bent warbird due to an imbecile with more money than talent. And yes, in this case, "talent" includes flying 101 of following a checklist.