Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Piper PA-24 Comanche 400, N8501P: Accident occurred August 30, 2021 at Fullerton Municipal Airport (KFUL), Orange County, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Long Beach, California

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances on landing.


Date: 30-AUG-21
Time: 20:45:00Z
Regis#: N8501P
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA24
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: FULLERTON
State: CALIFORNIA




A plane struck a chain-link fence while attempting to land at Fullerton Municipal Airport Monday afternoon, August 30, sending the two people aboard to the hospital.

A pilot and one passenger were aboard the Piper PA-24 Comanche 400 that came to rest on its belly on the runway at about 1:55 p.m., said Brendan O’Reilly, the airport manager. They were able to communicate with paramedics.

“It looks like they just came in too low on approach and hit the perimeter fence around the airport,” O’Reilly said.

Part of the aircraft landing gear was left detached, several feet away from the rest of the aircraft. Two blades on the propeller were bent and the plane’s front end partially crushed.

The crash resulted in the closure of the airport’s runway, O’Reilly said, projecting that it would take several hours before it could reopen.



31 comments:

  1. One of my favs! Please please fix her up

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  2. yessir.... the comanche is one of the prettiest airplanes out there....it and a super viking....

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  3. This is a COMANCHE 400. 400 h.p. from an eight cylinder Lycoming.
    Rare bird!

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    1. Yeah I looked at one many years ago but after doing the numbers on fuel burn vs. performance, I passed even though it was a great deal and somewhat of an aviation novelty. But as we all know in aviation when you own something, be it a large airline or a single jet corporation down to a private owner, novelty and the "cool" factor don't work for the bottom line when operating expenses are considered. And as T Ibach said above, the performance wasn't game changing either. Some of that was contributed to the power to weight ratio.

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  4. "Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances on landing."

    Wheels appear to be missing in the photo. That would seem to be a known circumstance... Gear up landing or failed gear.

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    1. According to the article they hit the perimeter fence which probably sheered the gear off.

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    2. Maintain thine airspeed (and glide path), lest the ground (or fence) riseth up and smite thee.

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  5. ATC audio of this one is up on YouTube. Definitely some bad decisions were made that day. The tower gave very clear instructions to the pilot to go around because their gear was up. The pilot ignored the command to go around as well as multiple subsequent calls from the tower. Also, several unauthorized bystanders illegally entered the movement area after the accident, which caused issues for authorized responders.

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  6. I don't know, but that pic looks like it's bent beyond feasible repair

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    1. I think it's rebuildable. The biggest killers are the wing and main fuselage frame structurea. Most of this damage looks to be firewall forward which is a relatively easy fix. As long as the airframe is not bent behind the firewall and the wing root is not damaged, it is rebuildable. The question is at what cost vs. the aircraft value. That question sends more classics like this to their scrapyard graves than anything else by insurance companies.

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    2. "http://www.comancheflyer.com/PA24-400.htm"

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    3. The engine damage and O/H alone would total this airplane.

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  7. The audio from the ATC feed indicates they told him to go around because his landing gear was not down. Shortly after that transmission, ATC reported the gear was down. Indications are that the pilot hit the chain-link fence at the east end of the runway, sheering off or damaging the landing gear, and causing the plane to belly-land. The pilot sounds like he's 90 years old.

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    1. I work at this airport. Can confirm, pilot is in fact 90 and makes things interesting for the controllers and everyone else in the pattern every time he flies. We are lucky his flying career is over, and that nobody died in the process. I feel so bad for that beautiful airplane.

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    2. So the registered owner” RICHMOND RONALD L” name does NOT show up in the FAA airman data base???

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    3. Airmen registry shows one airmen match including owners middle name, with address opted out. The owner has a website that includes a photo of the Comanche. Impressive that he just renewed his third class medical. Hope he and the passenger make a full recovery.

      http://www.ronaldrichmond.com/

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  8. The last I checked, "Go around" is a mandatory command to follow. It's not "Go around if you feel like it." Pilots need to be spring loaded to execute a go around the moment they hear those words. What seems to have happened here is when the pilot heard the words "your wheels appear up" after "Go around", he thought "Oh, I can save this" and decided to ignore the go around command, but not tell the tower his intentions. It's likely the startle factor of his mistake, the increased drag of dropping the gear and the distraction of verifying it being down and locked all combined to cause him to descend below a safe glide path and hit the perimeter fence. Had the tower only told him to go around without the reason, it's possible he wouldn't have ignored the command and tried to save the landing.

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    1. Go around, turn immediately, hold short are all non debatable or optional to the pilot.

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  9. If he'd have left the gear up he would have missed the fence! :)

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  10. You can see part of the chainlink fence pole bent around the right wing as it scraped along the runway on its belly, I'm afraid this plane is going to the scrapyard and the 90 year old pilot's flying days are over.

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  11. That airplane did not even reach the rwy 24 threshold bar. I've flown in and out of KFUL many times, and short final goes right over industrial buildings, railroad tracks, and a road. Judging by the images, I'd say he probably just missed the buildings and railroad tracks, impacted the road, and then slid through the fence and onto the runway. Sadly, the airplane is junk, but nobody was injured; the pilot and passenger are very, very fortunate as the result could have been much worse.

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    1. Very busy train tracks. If there were an amtrak or metrolink on the tracks at the time, they no doubt would have been hit and this would probably be national news.

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  12. complete list of short duration flights thru Aug 30th @ flightaware.
    Date Aircraft Origin Destination Departure Arrival Duration
    30-Aug-2021 PA24 Fullerton Muni (KFUL) Fullerton Muni (KFUL) 13:39 PDT 13:42 PDT 0:03
    30-Aug-2021 PA24 Chino (KCNO) Chino (KCNO) 13:11 PDT 13:19 PDT 0:07
    30-Aug-2021 PA24 Fullerton Muni (KFUL) Chino (KCNO) 12:14 PDT 12:33 PDT 0:18
    08-Aug-2021 PA24 Fullerton Muni (KFUL) Fullerton Muni (KFUL) 12:32 PDT 12:53 PDT 0:20

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  13. Flight list: So how does one accomplish a 3 minute flight in a Comanche? Maybe take off and land on the same pass?

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    1. 30 Aug flight data @ https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=aba9e1&lat=33.981&lon=-117.649&zoom=13.9&showTrace=2021-08-30&leg=2&trackLabels

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    2. That otta buff right out with some 800-grit and some good polishing compound.

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  14. I remember that 400 Comanche at Fullerton from when I learned to fly there in 1979. Good thing the short power poles with lines belonging to the railroad were put underground. He would have hit those with that approach.

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