Monday, July 11, 2022

Piper PA-24-260 Comanche 260, N478WT: Accident occurred July 10, 2022 near Rapid City Regional Airport (KRAP), Pennington County, South Dakota

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. 

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Williams, David

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Rapid City, South Dakota

Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
Accident Number: CEN22LA313
Date and Time: July 10, 2022, 18:10 Local
Registration: N478WT
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-260 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On July 10, 2022, about 1810 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-24-260 airplane, N478WT, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Rapid City, South Dakota. 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 he had departed from Runway 32 at the Rapid City Airport (RAP) for an estimated 30-minute flight. When the airplane was about 6,000 ft above mean sea level (MSL), the engine lost all power. The pilot declared an emergency with air traffic control and stated that he needed to return to the airport. He subsequently switched fuel tanks and attempted multiple engine restarts, but power could not be restored. Unable to reach the runway, he executed a forced landing to a field, during which the airplane bounced, the right main landing gear collapsed, and the airplane slid until it came to rest upright, which resulted in substantial damage to the elevator.

The pilot stated that the airplane had undergone an annual inspection about 2 days before the accident flight. Following the inspection, the pilot flew the airplane in the traffic pattern and then filled the inboard fuel tanks to capacity, which was 30 gallons per side for a total of 60 gallons of fuel on board.

A detailed wreckage examination is pending.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N478WT
Model/Series: PA-24-260
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file 
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: KRAP, 3162 ft msl 
Observation Time: 17:52 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C /11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 10°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 44.044227,-103.07879 (est)

Aircraft experienced engine issues and crash landed short of the airport. 

Date: 11-JUL-22
Time: 00:10:00Z
Regis#: N478WT
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA24
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91

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