Friday, February 11, 2022

Piper PA 46-350P M350, N35CM: Accident occurred February 01, 2022 at Crystal River Airport (KCGC), Citrus County, 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; Tampa, Florida

Crystal Motorsports LLC

Location: Crystal River, Florida
Accident Number: ERA22LA121
Date and Time: February 1, 2022, 12:30 Local
Registration: N35CM
Aircraft: PIPER AIRCRAFT INC PA 46-350P 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On February 1, 2022, at 1230 eastern standard time, a Piper PA46-350P, N35CM, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident in Crystal River, Florida. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that during landing on the turf runway 18 at the Crystal River Airport (CGC), Crystal River, Florida, the airplane touched down near the beginning of the runway at a speed of about 70 knots. He applied normal braking, and the airplane drifted slightly right of centerline. He then applied “less right brake and more left rudder” and the airplane corrected back toward the runway centerline. After the speed reduced to “below 20 knots” the nosewheel suddenly collapsed.

Examination of the accident site and airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the airplane continued about 20 ft after the nose gear collapsed. The lower engine mount, which the nose gear trunnion was attached, was substantially damaged. Airport personnel found a fractured bolt and fractured trunnion fitting on the runway. The bolt and fitting remnants were forwarded to the NTSB
materials laboratory for further examination.

The 1235 weather conditions reported at CGC included wind from 130° at 7 knots gusting to 14 knots.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N35CM
Model/Series: PA 46-350P 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: CGC,9 ft msl
Observation Time: 12:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C /4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / 14 knots, 130°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.23 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Atlanta, GA (ATL)
Destination: Crystal River, FL

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: 28.867611,-82.574111 (est)

A pilot is OK after his plane crashed while landing at the Crystal River Airport.

First responders were dispatched at around 12:35 p.m. Tuesday, February 1, to the airport on the corner of U.S. 19 and West Venable Road, where a single-engine Piper Aircraft plane was found resting nose down on the airport’s turf runway.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Tammy Jones said the FAA will investigate. Jones said preliminary findings show the nose gear of the Piper PA46 collapsed after the plane landed.

Crystal Motorsports LLC, out of Homosassa, is the plane’s registered owner, according to the FAA registry.

Steve Lamb, president and manager of Crystal Motorsports, said he was notified of the incident when he was doing his annual training in Vero Beach to fly the plane.

“I’m heartbroken,” he said. “Number one, nobody got hurt.”

Lamb said the pilot, who has 22,000 hours of flight experience with 11,000 hours flying fixed-wing aircraft, was returning to Crystal River after he flew passengers to Atlanta.

“He is one hell of a pilot; he’s very accomplished,” Lamb said. “That’s why they call them ‘accidents.’”

Crystal River Airport’s main runway – a 4,555-foot-long asphalt strip – closed Monday for 28 days to undergo improvement work, leaving the airport’s 2,665-foot turf runway operational, according to Citrus County government.

Lamb said his plane’s pilot was battling a crosswind during the landing before the aircraft’s nose went down.

“I feel terrible for him,” Lamb said, noting the pilot will continue to fly his aircraft.

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