Friday, November 26, 2021

Collision During Landing: Piper PA-24 Comanche 400, N8501P; accident occurred August 30, 2021 at Fullerton Municipal Airport (KFUL), Orange County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Long Beach, California

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Fullerton, California
Accident Number: WPR21LA343
Date and Time: August 30, 2021, 13:40 Local 
Registration: N8501P
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-400 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Collision during takeoff/land 
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, while accomplishing a straight in approach to land, he was slowing the airplane down, and was not paying attention to an obstacle ahead when he extended the landing gear and flaps at the last moment. The airplane subsequently struck the airport perimeter fence and then collided with terrain before coming to rest on the runway. The wings and fuselage were substantially damaged. The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to monitor the environment and maintain a proper glidepath on approach which, resulted in a collision with the airport perimeter fence.


Aircraft Descent/approach/glide path - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Monitoring environment - Pilot
Environmental issues Fence/fence post - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern final Collision during takeoff/land (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial 
Age: 90, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: August 12, 2020
Occupational Pilot: 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: August 28, 2020
Flight Time: (Estimated) 3834 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2805 hours (Total, this make and model), 3733 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Other flight crew Information

Certificate: Airline transport; Commercial; Flight instructor
Age: Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Unmanned (sUAS)
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): 
Airplane Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): 
Airplane multi-engine; Airplane single-engine; Instrument airplane
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Unknown 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: UNK
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N8501P
Model/Series: PA-24-400
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1964 
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 26-81
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: January 11, 2021 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3600 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3653 Hrs at time of accident 
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-720
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 400 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFUL,96 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 12:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 91°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 7000 ft AGL
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 190°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 29.78 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Chino, CA (CNO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Fullerton, CA 
Type of Clearance: VFR;Traffic advisory; VFR flight following
Departure Time: 12:30 Local 
Type of Airspace: Air traffic control; Class B;Class C

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 96 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 06/24
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3121 ft / 75 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: Straight-in

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 33.872014,-117.97978 (est)


  1. 90 Year old Pilot! Wow!.. I just wish I have that kind of a life! to keep flying at 90!

  2. You picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel

  3. Another beautiful airplane destroyed. I am glad the 2 pilots walked away... This is a no brainer.... Professionalism. Proficiency. And ck list usage in the landing phase... Also the basics.... Pitch. Power. Airspeed. And a stable approach on final.. 2 pilots on board... Should not have happened... Piper only built 144 of these magnificent flying machines.... Let's be careful out there....