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Aircraft: Piper PA-12
Where: Arctic Village AK
Injuries: None
Phase of Flight: Landing

About 1230 Alaska daylight time, a tundra-tire equipped Piper PA-12 airplane sustained substantial damage when it nosed over during the landing roll at a remote landing area, about 62 miles west of Arctic Village, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated by the pilot. The airline transport certificated pilot, and the sole passenger, were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated at the Galbraith Lake Airport, Galbraith Lake, Alaska, about 1205. No flight plan was filed, nor was one required.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported that he prepared a remote landing area to facilitate a hunting trip by cutting brush to form an airstrip. The dirt and rock surface area was oriented east/west, and was about 900 feet long, and about 40 feet wide. He tied wind-indication streamers at both ends of the landing area. He indicated that he made one successful takeoff and landing, and flew to Galbraith Lake and returned with a passenger.

The pilot said that during the accident landing, he landed toward the east, but the landing roll was faster than normal. The pilot stated that as the airplane reached the end of the landing area, he applied heavy braking, and the airplane nosed over. It received structural damage to the left wing, the vertical stabilizer, and the right wing lift struts. Following the accident, the pilot reported that he observed his wind-indicating flagging switch direction 180 degrees.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot's inadequate evaluation of the weather conditions, which resulted in an overrun and subsequent nose over during the landing roll. A factor contributing to the accident was a tailwind.

Aircraft: Piper PA-18-150
Where: Fairbanks, AK
Injuries: None
Phase of Flight: Landing

The student pilot reported that he was landing a tailwheel-equipped airplane on a gravel bar during a Title 14, CFR Part 91 personal flight. He stated that during the landing roll he applied the brakes too hard, and the airplane nosed over, damaging both wing lift struts and a wing spar. He also indicated that there were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane prior to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's excessive braking during the landing roll, which resulted in a loss of control and a nose over.

Aircraft: Piper PA-18-150
Where: Reno, NV
Injuries: 1 Uninjured
Phase of Flight: Landing

The airplane ground looped during routine pattern work. The pilot made one successful touch-and-go landing. About 300 feet from touchdown, he noticed he was experiencing a quartering left tailwind. He considered performing a wheel landing with partial flaps, but decided to make a full stall landing with full flaps. The touchdown was good, but during the landing roll the airplane began to veer to the right. He applied left rudder, but got no response. He then applied more left rudder and some left brake. The airplane immediately veered left at an angle of 45 degrees to the runway centerline. He reacted with right rudder and brake and the airplane turned to the right so that it was pointed 30 degrees to the right of the centerline. As the airplane reached the centerline, the airplane ground looped. The left axle broke and the left spar sustained substantial damage.

THE CAUSE
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot failed to maintain directional control resulting in an inadvertent ground loop. A contributing factor was the tailwind.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Piper PA-18-150
Where:
Glade Park, Colorado
Injuries:
None
Phase of Flight:
Landing

At approximately 1400 Mountain Standard Time, a Piper PA-18-150 was substantially damaged when it nosed over during landing at Pinyon Air Park (CO43), Glade Park, Colorado. The private pilot, the sole occupant on board, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The personal, cross-country flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91. No flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed Blanding, Utah, at approximately 1230.

Due to low clouds and visibility at the destination airport, the pilot diverted to a local air park. While circling for landing, the pilot noted that the field was snow-covered; however, he could see vegetation through the snow and bare ground where snowmobiles had made several turns. During the landing, the main landing gear sank in the deep snow and the airplane nosed over, substantially damaging the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision. Contributing factors include the pilot's selection of unsuitable terrain for landing and the snow-covered terrain.

Aircraft: Piper PA-23-160
Where: Columbus, GA
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured.
Phase of Flight: Landing

The private pilot was on a visual flight rules cross-country flight when he began encountering instrument conditions. The pilot continued into the instrument conditions for about 30 minutes before asking Atlanta Approach Control for directions to the nearest airport for landing. The controller directed the pilot to two different nearby airports but both were below minimums. The pilot informed the controller that he was low on fuel and needed to land as soon as possible. The controller directed the pilot to the Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Columbus, Georgia. The pilot told the controllers that he would attempt an Instrument approach. The pilot attempted four unsuccessful approaches with the controllers talking him through each approach. On the fifth approach, at five miles from the runway the pilot stated that both engines quit due to fuel exhaustion. The pilot called "mayday" and during the forced landing the airplane collided with trees and the ground separating the right wing, half of the left wing, and coming to rest inverted. The pilot did not report any mechanical deficiencies with the airplane during the attempted approaches.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot's inadequate decision to continue VFR flight into IMC conditions, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140
Where: Dighton, KS
Injuries: Three fatal
Phase of Flight: In Flight

At 2015 central standard time (CST), a Piper PA-28-140, operated by a private pilot, was destroyed when it impacted the terrain 8 miles northeast of Dighton, Kansas. A post-crash fire ensued. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The pilot filed an instrument flight rules flight plan, in flight, with Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), prior to the accident. The pilot and two passengers on board the airplane were fatally injured. The cross-country flight originated at Denver, Colorado, at 1700 mountain standard time (MST), and was en route to Wichita, Kansas.

At 1452:02 MST, the pilot contacted the Denver Flight Service Station (AFSS) and filed a VFR flight plan from Front Range Airport (FTG), Denver, Colorado, direct to Benton Airport (1K1), Benton, Kansas. The pilot proposed to take off at 1700 MST. He filed an en route altitude of 7,500 feet mean sea level (msl), and estimated his time en route would be 3 hours and 45 minutes. The flight service specialist asked the pilot if he had the AIRMETS for turbulence. The pilot replied, "Yes, I have all the AIRMETS' and the weather; and I'm hoping to go in VFR. If I have to, I will switch IFR in route." The flight service specialist said, "OK, I was just going to say VFR flight not recommended because there is some IFR conditions in that area." The flight service specialist also asked the pilot if he had the AIRMET  for icing? The pilot said, "Yes."

The pilot's wife said that he contacted her from Denver, Colorado, an hour before taking off. She said that the pilot never said anything about the weather. He told her that he would be back home (Wichita) in 4 hours. The pilot's wife said that he should have arrived home at approximately 2130 CST.

At 1801:49 MST, the pilot contacted the Denver ARTCC and told them he was over the Kit Carson [Colorado] Airport at 8,000 feet msl. The pilot told the radar controller that he was "VFR on top" and that he was probably going to have to "switch to an IFR flight plan shortly, can I do that with you?"

At 1804:53 MST, the Denver ARTCC radar controller cleared the aircraft to 1K1 "via direct Wichita, direct 1K1, maintain VFR on top."

At 18 13:07 MST, the pilot contacted the Denver AFSS Flight Watch and requested the local conditions at Wichita Mid Continent Airport (ICT). Denver Flight Watch told the pilot, "Wichita currently reporting'. wind 110 at 7, visibility 3 [miles], light rain, mist, ceiling 500 feet agl, overcast, temperature 3 [degrees Centigrade], dew point 3 [degrees Centigrade], altimeter 30.08 [inches of Mercury], ceiling 300 [feet agl] variable 900 [feet agl]." Denver Flight Watch then told the pilot, "be advised, they do have an AIRMET for occasional IFR conditions for the southern portion of Kansas ... VFR flight isn't recommended due to low stratus clouds'" Before leaving Denver Flight Watch, the pilot said," ... right now we have tops of clouds are about 7,000 feet. We're at 7,500 [feet] and have clouds above us also."

At 1825:16 MST, Denver ARTCC told the pilot his position was 25 miles southeast of the Goodland, Kansas, VORTAC. The pilot told the radar controller that he needed to go into ICT.

At 1825:53 MST, Denver ARTCC cleared the aircraft to ICT.

At 1845:24 MST, Denver ARTCC instructed the pilot to contact Kansas City Center. There was no response. Between 1845:52 and 1847:59 MST, Denver ARTCC made five additional radio calls to the aircraft. There were no responses to any of the calls.

At 1848:52 MST, the pilot contacted Denver ARTCC. Denver ARTCC instructed the pilot to contact Kansas City Center. There was no response from the pilot. Denver ARTCC made two additional calls.

At 1850:10 MST, the pilot told Denver ARTCC,  "' I got you weak and scratchy'. we are now in the clouds; request IFR to ICT, 7,000 feet." The Denver ARTCC radar controller told the pilot to standby.

The Denver ARTCC radar controller began coordinating the radar handoff of the aircraft with Kansas City ARTCC "Hayes Low" radar controller.

At 1851:18 MST, Denver ARTCC called and told the pilot, "'you're cleared to Wichita via direct, maintain 7,000 [feet msl]. The pilot acknowledged, "7,000 feet, direct ICT." Denver ARTCC then instructed the pilot to contact Kansas City Center. The pilot acknowledged the frequency change.

At 1854:42 MST, the Denver ARTCC radar controller contacted the Hayes Low controller and said, "I'm still seeing [aircraft number]. He's at 6,300 [feel agl} ... I told him to maintain seven, and I don't know why he's going down."

At 1900:33 MST (2000:33 CST), the Kansas City ARTCC Hill City low controller contacted the Denver ARTCC radar controller inquiring if Denver ARTCC was still talking to [aircraft number]. The Denver radar controller said that he wasn't, and they reconfirmed the frequency the aircraft was supposed to be on. The Denver ARTCC radar controller also said that he didn't know why [aircraft number] was at 6,000 feet msl. Denver ARTCC tried to contact the aircraft several times.

At 2004:18 CST, the Kansas City ARTCC Hayes low controller told Denver ARTCC, "' he's like circling now."

At 2007:39 CST, Denver ARTCC radar showed the aircraft 25 miles northeast of Scott City, Kansas, at 5,200 feet msl.

At 2011:12 CST, Kansas City ARTCC radar showed the aircraft at 4,600 feet msl.

At 2012:20 CST, Denver ARTCC tried to contact the aircraft again. There was still no response.

At 2013:53 CST, Denver ARTCC contacted Canadian Airlines International, Flight 183, and asked if they would try raising [aircraft number] on their frequency. They said they would try.

At 2015:05 CST, Kansas City ARTCC lost radar contact with the Piper 140.

The airplane was at 4,500 feet msl when radar contact was lost. The airplane's position was 7 miles north and 5 miles west of the Dighton, Kansas Airport.

At 2015:16 CST, Denver ARTCC received this call from an unidentified aircraft, "Denver Center [broken transmission] four four [broken transmission]."

At 2015:23 cst, Denver ARTCC received a broken transmission from an unidentified aircraft, followed by an open mike with a whine increasing in pitch. At 2015:29 CST, Denver ARTCC received another open mike with a whine increasing in pitch.

At 2015:36 CST, Key Lime Air Flight 220 contacted Denver ARTCC and told them that they just heard an aircraft over the air say he was going down. Denver ARTCC asked Canadian Airlines Flight 183 if they had heard the aircraft. They responded, "'we believe we heard the same thing that the other airplane did as well."

Denver ARTCC contacted Key Lime Air Flight 220 again to clarify what they had heard. They responded, "... we think it was twenty or twenty-five miles northeast of Goodland [Kansas] and'. just heard his call sign'Cherokee and' some screaming in the background' that they were going down." Key Lime 220 then told Denver ARTCC that they picked up light to moderate rime ice at 6,000 feet msl.

At 2032 CST, Denver ARTCC contacted the Lane County, Kansas, Sheriffs Office and requested assistance "in locating a plane that disappeared from radar." They were informed that the airplane was en route to Wichita, and was pinpointed at about 17 miles north-northeast of Dighton, around Utica, Kansas. The Lane County Sheriffs Office was also told that they (Denver ARTCC) heard someone say, "We're going down." The airplane had disappeared "about 15 minutes ago."

At 2058 CST, Lane County Sheriffs Deputies located the airplane.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with single-engine land, instrument airplane rating.

The pilot held a current third class medical certificate with no restrictions.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS
The pilot contacted the Denver AFSS and received a forecast weather briefing for the following evening. The in-flight briefer told the pilot to expect marginal VFR conditions when entering Kansas.

On the day of the flight at 1223 MST, the pilot contacted Denver AFSS requesting a weather briefing for a VFR flight from FTG to ICT, taking off at 1700 MST. The pre-flight briefer told the pilot, "'. [it] doesn't look promising - do have AIRMETS in effect for icing here in the Denver area, occasional moderate rime or mixed icing, clouds or precipitation to 18,000 [feet msl], and you pick up the AIRMET area again around Garden City, and it continues into Wichita."

An AIRMET for ice was issued for South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi; occasional moderate rime/mixed icing in precipitation above freezing level to flight level 180 ... conditions ending west of Gage, Oklahoma, to Alexandria, Louisiana, line by 2000 MST.

The weather at Garden City, Kansas, 43 miles from the accident site on a 197 degrees magnetic heading, at 2031 CST, was reported as 100 feet above ground level (agl) overcast ceiling, 3 miles visibility with light rain, temperature 32 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 32 degrees F, winds 120 degrees at 11 knots, and altimeter 29.97 inches of Mercury (Hg).

The weather at Dodge City, Kansas, 45 miles from the accident site on a 160 degree magnetic heading, at 2018 CST, was reported as 100 feet vertical visibility, 3/4 statute mile visibility with light rain, temperature 32 degrees F, dew point 32 degrees F, winds 110 degrees at 11 knots, and altimeter 29.99 inches Hg.

The weather at Liberal, Kansas, 60 miles from the accident on a 180 degree magnetic heading, at 2035 CST, was reported as 100 feet agi overcast ceiling, 1/2 statute mile visibility, temperature 32 degrees F, dew point not reported, winds 110 degrees at 11 knots, and altimeter 29.96 inches Hg.

At 2145 CST, a Kansas State Police Officer responded to the accident site from Meade, Kansas (80 miles south of the accident site). The officer said that he was "fighting a strong northerly wind while driving up." The officer said that when he left Meade, "the visibility was down to 1/8 mile with fog. When he arrived at the accident site at midnight, the visibility was about 1 mile. "That's when the rain started."

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident location was approximately 8 miles northeast of Dighton, Kansas. The accident site was located on the crest of a hill, within a rolling cow pasture, bordered on the north by County Road 220, an east-west running gravel road in Lane County, Kansas.

The airplane main wreckage consisted of the remains of the engine, cowling, and propeller, the left and right wings, the remains of the cabin and fuselage, and the empennage. The airplane was oriented on a 275-degree magnetic heading.

A ground scar preceded the main wreckage. It was located adjacent to the airplane's engine and propeller, to the west. The ground scar was 8 feet wide, 7 feet, 4 inches long, and 16 inches at its deepest point, which was located at the northwest edge. Pieces of clear Plexiglas and white fiberglass were located in the ground scar and around the southwest edge.

An examination of the engine, engine controls, and remaining airplane systems revealed no anomalies.

FIRE
Units from the Dighton, Healy, Pendennis, and Shields, Kansas, Fire Departments responded to a grass fire reported by a Lane County Sheriffs Deputy at 2049 CST. A burned grass area, approximately 8 feet wide and 63 feet long, preceded the airplane main wreckage from southeast to northwest. The burned grass area continued around the airplane main wreckage and ran northwestward for 225 feet. This area was approximately 24 feet at its widest point, near the airplane main wreckage. An additional area of burned grass ran westward from the airplane main wreckage.

TESTS AND RESEARCH
The airplane's vacuum pump and pilot's attitude indicator gyro were examined at the Safety Board's Materials Laboratory. The examination showed that both components had been subjected to severe heating, up to the melting point of aluminum, approximately 1,000 to 1,200 degrees F. The attitude indicator gyro showed no mechanical damage to the case or rotor. The vacuum pump revealed no damage to the drive coupling, vanes, rotor, or case.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows: The inadvertent stall. Factors relating to this accident were the pilot's inadvertent flight into known adverse weather conditions, the icing conditions, and improper in-flight planning by the pilot.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Piper PA-28-161
Where: Yonkers, NY
Injuries: 2 minor
Phase of Flight: En route

A Piper PA-28-161, N2759M, was substantially damaged while ditching in the Hudson River, following a total loss of engine power in cruise flight near Yonkers, New York. The certificated private pilot and flight instructor sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instructional flight that departed South Jersey Regional Airport (VAY), Mount Holly, New Jersey; destined for Lincoln Park Airport (N07), Lincoln Park, New Jersey. No flight plan was filed for the instructional flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilots stated that the flight instructor was familiarizing him with operating in the visual flight rules (VFR) corridor along the Hudson River. Prior to takeoff, the private pilot had the airplane completely fueled. The airplane was in cruise flight about 900 feet agl, traveling north over the river when without warning, the engine sputtered and lost all power near the George Washington Bridge. The pilots did not hear any mechanical binding, and the propeller continued to turn while the engine sputtered. The flight instructor transmitted a distress signal, and took control of the airplane. An attempt to restart the engine was unsuccessful, and the flight instructor ditched the airplane in the Hudson River.

The New York City Police Department and United States Coast Guard subsequently rescued the pilots, and searched for the wreckage. As of the publication date of this report, the wreckage had not been located.

LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Flushing, New York, is located about 5 miles southeast of the accident site. The reported weather at LGA, at 1151, was: wind from 160 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 10 miles; few clouds at 12,000 feet; overcast ceiling at 15,000 feet; temperature 45 degrees F; dew point 30 degrees F; altimeter 30.20 inches Hg.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A loss of engine power for undetermined reasons, which resulted in a ditching.

Aircraft: Piper PA-28-161
Where: Middletown, RI
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Phase of flight: Landing

On July 3, 2008, at 1931 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA 28-161 sustained substantial damage when it impacted trees, during the initial climb from Newport State Airport (UUU), Middletown, Rhode Island. The certificated flight instructor and a passenger were killed. The third occupant, a student pilot, was seriously injured and succumbed to his injuries on September 15, 2008. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight.

According to the airplane owner and fueling records, the airplane was "topped-off" with 25.1 gallons of 100 low-lead aviation fuel, and departed on runway 22, a 2,999-foot-long, 75-foot-wide, asphalt runway. Several witnesses, who lived near the airport, reported hearing the engine noise cease, immediately followed by the sound of an impact. One of the witnesses approached the wreckage from the right side, and was able to extricate the student pilot before the airplane was consumed by fire.

Another witness was a professional pilot, who held an airline transport pilot certificate. The witness stated that he was approaching UUU in a Socata TBM 700, with the intent to land and drop-off a passenger. During the approach, the witness was behind a "PA 28 aircraft" in the traffic pattern (but could not positively identify it as the accident airplane). A pilot in the PA 28 reported that he was on a downwind leg for runway 22, with the intention to touch-and-go. The witness thought it was odd that the PA 28 was "quite high" on final approach, landed about mid-field, and the performed a touch-and-go.

The professional pilot witness then landed, dropped-off his passenger, and prepared to depart about 10 minutes later. During engine start-up, the witness noticed that the accident airplane (but could not positively identify it as the previous PA 28) landed about 2,000 feet beyond the approach end of runway 22. It was slow, but the witness thought that the accident airplane might not be able to stop on the remaining runway. The witness was then "shocked" that the pilot attempted to perform a touch-and-go as the airplane rotated and began a "slow laborious climb." The witness further stated:

"The nose was too high to permit any gain in airspeed and it mushed along with the wings occasionally rocking. It was basically in a slow left turn never rising above the tree line until it impacted the trees more or less wings level."

Radar data was obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Review of the radar plot revealed targets with a 1200-transponder code, oriented along a path consistent with a left-hand traffic pattern for runway 22 at UUU. The last target was recorded at 1931:04, near the threshold of runway 22, indicating an altitude of 100 feet above mean sea level. No subsequent corresponding radar targets were recorded near the departure end of runway 22.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilots' logbooks were not recovered. The flight instructor, age 63, held a commercial pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine and instrument airplane. The flight instructor's most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on January 14, 2008. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 2,650 hours. According to the airplane owner, UUU was the flight instructor's home airport, and he frequently instructed in the accident airplane. The flight instructor was seated in the left front seat at the time of the accident.

The student pilot, age 38, obtained his most recent third-class medical certificate on December 4, 2007. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 12 hours. According to the airport manager at UUU, the student pilot completed his first solo flight during June 2008. The student pilot was seated in the right front seat, and his wife was seated in a rear passenger seat.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four-seat, low-wing, fixed-gear airplane was manufactured in 1977. It was powered by a Lycoming O-320, 160-horsepower engine and equipped with a Sensenich propeller.

Review of the airplane's logbooks revealed that a 100-hour inspection was completed on June 23, 2008, at a total airframe time of 4,405.1 hours. At the time of the inspection, the engine had accumulated 1,081.8 hours of operation since major overhaul.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The reported weather at UUU, at 1953, was: wind variable at 4 knots; visibility 5 miles in haze; broken ceiling at 8,000 feet, overcast ceiling at 9,000 feet; temperature 22 degrees Celsius (C); dew point 18 degrees C; altimeter 29.97 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest in trees on a residential property, about 1,000 feet beyond the departure end of runway 22. An approximate 30-foot debris path was observed, which consisted of damaged trees. The debris path was oriented along a magnetic course of approximately 180 degrees. The wreckage was also oriented on a heading about 180 degrees. The aft portion of the wreckage remained upright, while the engine was inverted. The cockpit and cabin area were consumed by fire; however, all major portions of the airplane were accounted for at the scene.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site on July 4 and 5, 2008. The right wing separated near the wing root and about mid-span. The middle section of the right wing, including the right flap and inboard right aileron, was consumed by fire. Crush damage was noted on the leading edge of the right wing, and approximately two-thirds of the aileron remained attached to the right wing. The inboard section of the left wing, including the left flap, had also been consumed by fire. Two-thirds (outboard) of the left wing remained intact, with the left aileron attached. The empennage also remained intact. Stabilator and rudder control continuity were confirmed from the control surfaces to the control column in the cockpit. Aileron control continuity was confirmed from their respective bellcranks to the control column in the cockpit. The stabilator trim jackscrew was measured, revealing four visible threads, which equated to an approximate neutral position. The left aileron bellcrank remained attached to the airframe, and the right aileron bellcrank had separated from the right wing, consistent with impact forces. Both aileron cables were intact and traced from their respective bellcranks, to the sprocket and chain assembly at the cockpit control column. The aileron balance cable had separated and exhibited features consistent with tensile overload.

The remnants of the throttle and mixture cable were found in the aft position, and the remnant of the carburetor heat control was found in the midrange position. The flap handle was in the 10-degree flap extended position, and the fuel selector was destroyed. Only two readable cockpit instruments were recovered. The vertical speed indicator displayed an approximate 500-foot-per-minute descent, and the attitude indicator was tumbled.

The propeller remained attached to the engine, and exhibited little damage. The engine exhibited fire damage to the accessory section and carburetor. The engine was removed from the airframe, and the propeller was rotated by hand. Crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed, and thumb compression was attained on all four cylinders. The magnetos sustained fire damage and could not be tested; however, when the No. 1 cylinder was placed to top-dead-center, internal timing of the engine was verified via rocker arm oscillation on the No 2 cylinder. When the oil filter was opened, no metallic contamination was observed. Disassembly of the carburetor revealed that the floats and needle were intact. The mechanical fuel pump was destroyed, and could not be tested. All eight spark plugs were removed and inspected. Their electrodes were intact and light gray in color, except for the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 top spark plugs, which were oil soaked.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the flight instructor by the Rhode Island Department of Health, Office of the State Medical Examiner, Providence, Rhode Island. According to the autopsy report, the cause of death was listed as "thermal injuries and smoke inhalation."

Toxicological testing was performed on the flight instructor by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The testing revealed:

"HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE detected in Blood
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE detected in Urine
IBUPROFEN detected in Urine."

According to the flight instructor's wife, and review of his medical records by a National Transportation Safety Board medical officer, he had a recent history, beginning about 9 months prior to the accident, of severe joint pain of the hands, wrists, knees, ankles, and feet. The flight instructor had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and had been treated with ibuprofen, prednisone, hydroxychloroquine, and methotrexate. During a doctor's visit 2 weeks prior to the accident, it was noted that the flight instructor "still has some pain and stiffness of his hands and wrists...significant morning stiffness lasting several hours." He was noted at that time to be taking 800 mg of ibuprofen twice a day and 400 mg of hydroxychloroquine once a day, and methotrexate was increased to 15 mg, once per week. He had been referred to an ophthalmologist for visual field testing "before he begins taking hydroxychloroquine," but the hydroxychloroquine was started on February 12, 2008, and visual field testing had not been accomplished as of the time of the accident. The flight instructor's most recent application for airman medical certificate noted "No" to "Do You Currently Use Any Medication," to all items under "Medical History," and to "Visits to Health Professional Within Last 3 Years."

The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause of this accident to be: The flight instructor’s failure to initiate a go-around during high approach, and his inadequate remedial action during an attempted touch-and-go.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180
Where: Erhard, MN
Injuries: One fatal
Phase of Flight: In flight

At 2003 Central Standard Time, a Piper PA-28-180 operated by a private pilot was destroyed when it impacted into a cornfield 1-1/2 miles northwest of Erhard, Minnesota. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The ferry flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The flight originated at Detroit Lakes (DTL), Minnesota, at 1940, and was en route to Fergus Falls (FFM), Minnesota.

The owner of the airplane said that he and the pilot had flown to DTL in the airplane so that the owner could pick up another airplane and ferry it back to FFM. The owner said the flight to DTL was uneventful. At DTL, they checked the weather for the return flight. The automatic weather observing/reporting system (AWOS) at FFM was reporting a ceiling of 800 feet overcast and 7 miles visibility. The owner took off in a Piper Seneca before the pilot took off. The owner said that he heard the pilot departing DTL on his airplane radio. En route to FFM, the pilot contacted the owner and inquired if the owner got off okay. The owner responded that everything was working. The pilot then said, "You must be close to Fergus [Falls]". The owner said that he was 11 miles from FFM at that time. The owner said he landed right at 2000. While taxiing to the ramp, the owner said he tried to call the pilot on the airplane's radio. There was no response. The owner parked his airplane and went into the fixed base operator (FBO) to contact the pilot on the FBO radio. Again, there was no response.

A witness on a farm located near the accident site said that he first heard the airplane. "We couldn't see it. It was in the clouds or fog." The witness said the ground visibility was good. "The airplane appeared out of the fog approximately up 150 ft. spiraling sharp to the right, and going down fast. It only took a few seconds for it to hit the ground."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land airplane rating. The pilot completed a biennial flight review on August 13, 2000. The records indicated that in April 1999, the pilot had logged 230 flying hours.
The pilot held a third class medical certificate. Under limitations, the pilot's medical certificate stated the pilot must wear corrective lenses.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION
The airplane was used for flight instruction and rental purposes Total airframe and tachometer times recorded at the annual inspection were 5,017 hours respectively. The tachometer time recorded at the accident site was 5,175 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS
At 2017, the AWOS at FFM, 15 miles south of the accident site, reported sky conditions 600 overcast, 7 miles visibility, temperature 21 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 14 degrees F, winds 150 degrees at 12 knots, and altimeter 29.91 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was located in a snow covered corn stubble field, 60 feet south of Otter Tail County-Township Road 370, an east-west running gravel road. The accident site, which contained the airplane main wreckage, covered an area approximately 50-feet long, running north to south, and 30-feet wide, running east to west. Preceding the main wreckage, and approximately 25 feet south of the road, was a set of east west running power lines. The power lines were suspended by 30-foot poles and paralleled the road. The power lines showed no damage.
The main wreckage consisted of the entire airplane. The airplane rested on the engine, propeller, and cowling, and was oriented on a 230 degree magnetic heading.
The airplane's engine mounts were broken aft and downward. The firewall was bent forward around the rear engine accessories and crankcase. The majority of the accessories were broken out. The top and bottom cowlings were broken aft. The top cowling rested 10 feet south of the main wreckage. The nose gear was broken aft. The wheel pan was broken off. The airplane's windscreen, glareshield, and instrument panel were broken out and fragmented. The front cabin floor was broken upward. The cabin ceiling and left aft cabin wall were crushed aft. Interior panels were broken out and fragmented. The cabin door was bent outward and crushed aft. The door window was broken out and fragmented. The cabin floor, aft of the front seats was broken downward. The right side cabin was crushed upward and aft. The right cabin windows and cabin interior panels were broken out and fragmented. The baggage area was crushed aft. The baggage door was broken out and crushed aft.
The airplane's engine and propeller were examined following extraction from the impact hole. The spinner was crushed aft and broken. The rear spinner plate was bent aft around the propeller hub. The propeller remained attached at the flange. Both propeller blades showed torsional bending, chordwise scratches and blade tip curling. An examination of the engine, engine controls, and remaining airplane systems showed no anomalies.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The results of FAA toxicology testing of specimens received from the pilot were negative for all tests conducted.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows.
The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control. Factors relating to the accident were the pilot's encounter with known adverse weather conditions, the low ceiling, the pilot disregarding the weather observation information obtained prior to the flight, and the pilot's lack of instrument experience.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Piper PA 28-180
Where: Oxford, MA
Injuries: 1 Minor
Phase of Flight: Landing

The pilot was on a cross country flight when he became disoriented and misidentified the airport that he intended to land at with another airport located about 9 miles away. Both airports had the same runway alignment and Unicom frequency. The pilot performed a short field approach to runway 02, and landed about 1/3 of the way down the 2,097 foot long snow and patchy ice covered runway. He said that he "landed longer down the runway than he would have liked, and that was part of the problem." During the landing roll-out, the pilot said that he avoided hard braking due to the runway conditions. As the airplane came over a rise, he noticed a snow bank located at the end of the runway and decided to abort the landing. With less than half of the runway length available, the pilot applied power and tried to establish a climb, but was unable to clear the trees. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical deficiencies. He also reported that the accident could have been prevented by, "strict adherence to the flight plan...use of multiple characteristics to identify rural airports...[and] more precise execution of short-field procedure." A review of the Piper PA-28-180 takeoff performance charts revealed that the airplane would have needed approximately 1,625 feet to take off over a 50-foot obstacle on a paved, level, dry runway in zero wind conditions with 25 degrees of flaps extended, and full power applied before brake release.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot's delayed aborted landing and his failure to attain obstacle clearance. The pilot's misjudgment of distance is a contributing factor.

Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180
Where: Peachtree City. GA
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Phase of Flight: Approach

At 2007 Eastern Standard Time, a Piper PA-28-180 operated by a private-rated pilot as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with trees during an approach into Falcon Field, Peachtree City, Georgia. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces, and the private pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Craig Municipal Airport, Jacksonville, Florida.

At 1708, the pilot checked in with Atlanta Approach Control, and requested the localizer 10-approach at the Macon Downtown Airport, Macon, Georgia (MAC). The pilot was radar vectored to intercept the localizer, and cleared for the localizer 10-approach at MAC. At 1745, the pilot contacted the Atlanta Approach Control, and advised that he had over flown the localizer. Atlanta Approach advised the pilot that he was about a mile north of the localizer, and issued vectors back to the localizer 10-approach. The pilot was cleared for the localizer 10-approach, and established on the localizer. Atlanta Approach Control advised the pilot he could cancel IFR and change to advisory frequency. At 1756, the pilot advised Atlanta Approach Control that he was having trouble staying on the localizer and requested to go to the Middle Georgia Airport, Macon, Georgia (MCN). Atlanta Approach Control issued vectors for MCN, and advised the pilot to expect the ILS runway 5-approach.

At 1819, Atlanta Approach Control cleared the pilot for the ILS runway 5-approach to MCN. The MCN tower advised Atlanta Approach Control that the pilot had panicked and went missed approach. Atlanta Approach Control contacted the pilot, and asked if he was all right. The pilot responded "that he was a little worn out from flying, and would try to get it under control". At 1830, the pilot contacted the MCN tower, reported that he had lost the localizer, and had flown through it. The pilot requested if he could be taken around to do the approach again. He was issued radar vectors back to the ILS runway 5-approach. At 1844, about one half mile from the approach, the pilot requested to come around for another approach after drifting off course.

At 1859, Atlanta Approach Control cleared the pilot for the ILS runway 5-approach, and was given instructions to keep him from drifting off course. At 1903, the MCN tower had the airplane insight over the runway, and reported that he was climbing back out. The pilot advised Atlanta Approach that he needed to try it again because he had totally missed it. The pilot was issued radar vectors again for the ILS runway 5-approach.

At 1922, the pilot apologized for turning off of the localizer course, and Atlanta Approach issued a climb to 2,000 feet. Atlanta Approach requested the fuel status of the airplane. The pilot replied that the right tank was getting low, and left tank was half full. Atlanta Approach Control advised the pilot that he could go to another airport where the weather was better. The pilot acknowledged, and was radar vectored to the Peachtree City Airport-Falcon Field (FFC) localizer 31-approach. At 2004, Atlanta Approach cleared the pilot for the approach, one-mile from the final approach fix, and the pilot acknowledged.

At 2007, the controller lost radar and radio contact with the flight, and a search was initiated to locate the airplane. At 2105, the airplane was located one mile southeast of the approach end of the runway 31.

PILOT INFORMATION

Review of the pilot's FAA records revealed, that he was issued a private pilot certificate for airplane single- engine land. The pilot was issued an instrument rating on June 10, 2005. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed, he had a total flight time of 437.8 flight hours. The pilot logged 17.1 flight hours of actual instrument flight time, and 133 flight hours of simulated instrument time. The private pilot held a third class medical certificate dated June 25, 2004, and was valid when wearing corrective lenses.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was a 1971 Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee. It was a four-place; low-wing aircraft of predominantly aluminum construction with a fixed tricycle landing gear configuration. A 180-horsepower Lycoming O-360-A4A engine powered the airplane.Review of aircraft maintenance logbooks indicated that the last recorded altimeter, static, and transponder system checks were completed. The last annual inspection was conducted on March 10, 2005. The tachometer time at the annual inspection was 2008.55 hours. At the time of the accident the tachometer indicated 2071.88 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Selected surface weather observations for the destination and accident area, in part, follow. No observations were available for Macon Downtown Airport (MAC).

Peachtree City Airport/Falcon Field (KFFC), Atlanta, Georgia: field elevation 808 feet msl, located approximately 331 degrees at 1 nautical mile from the accident location, Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS), alternate airport:

Time-1953; wind-variable at 3 knots; visibility-4 miles; present weather-mist; sky condition-overcast 800 feet; temperature-13 degrees Celsius; dew point-13 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting-30.00 inches hg; remarks-rain ended 1923 ceiling 500 feet variable 1,100 feet.

Middle Georgia Regional Airport (KMCN), Macon, Georgia: field elevation 354 feet msl, augmented ASOS, alternate airport.

Time-1753; wind-calm; visibility-2 miles; present weather-mist; sky condition-overcast 600 feet; temperature-14 degrees Celsius; dew point-13 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting-30.02 inches hg; remarks-rain ended 1735 ceiling 200 feet variable 700 feet.

WRECKAGE EXAMINATION

The main wreckage was located at 33.21:16N, 084.34:11W, one mile from the approach end of runway 31 in a heavily wooded area. Examination of the crash site revealed that the airplane collided with trees and the ground. The crash debris line was 300 feet in length on a heading of 330-degrees magnetic.

The cockpit section of the airplane was crushed. The flight and communication instruments were destroyed. The throttle position was aft and bent. The mixture control was full rich, and the ignition switch was in the both position. The fuel selector was on the left tank, and the fuel primer was in the locked position. The flap handle was down, indicating flaps up.

The fuselage was split vertically at the forward edge of the baggage area. The right side of the fuselage, aft of the baggage area was crushed inward. The entry door at the right side of the fuselage was detached and damaged. Flight control continuity was established to all flight controls in the cockpit. The Gascolator was disassembled and one ounce of fuel was observed in the unit. The nose wheel assembly was still attached to the engine mounts.

All components of the left wing were located at the crash site. The left wing separated from fuselage at the wing root and separated into two pieces. The aileron was attached to the outboard 4-foot section of wing, with the aileron weight attached. The inboard portion of wing had the flap attached. The fuel tank bladder was separated, and located in the debris field. The left flap mechanism indicated that the flaps were in the up position. The aileron cables were attached to the bellcrank, and separated at the wing root. The left main landing gear was separated from the wing, and located in the debris field.

All components of the right wing assembly were located at the crash site. The right wing was fragmented into several pieces throughout the wreckage debris field. The inboard section of flap was attached to the outboard wing section. The detached outboard flap section was located in the debris field. The right fuel tank bladder was fragmented throughout the debris field. A detached five-foot section of the main spar was located in the debris field with the main landing gear attached. The outboard four-foot section of the wing had parts of aileron attached. The main section of the aileron was located in the debris field, and damaged. The aileron cable was attached to the aileron bellcrank, which was attached to a small separated section of wing. The aileron cable was intact to the center fuselage; the balance cable was broken. The right flap mechanism was in the up position.

The vertical stabilizer had impact damage on the top 18 inches of the leading edge, and the rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. The rudder cables were attached to the rudder horn and intact to the center fuselage. The left hand portion of the stabilator was detached, and had impact damage. The control arm of the anti-servo tab remained attached to the fuselage. The right-hand section of the stabilator was detached and fragmented into several pieces. The stabilator cables were attached to the balance bar and intact to the center fuselage.

The propeller revealed one blade was bent rearward 90-degrees 14 inches from the tip. "S" bending and chordwise scoring was evident in the bent section of the blade. The second blade was bent rearward approximately 15-degrees, showed chordwise scoring, and "S" bending along the entire length. The engine remained partially attached to the firewall. Impact damage was noted on the right side, and bottom of the engine. The exhaust system was crushed. The crankshaft was rotated 360-degrees; which established valve train continuity. All four cylinders produced compression, and boroscope examination did not reveal any anomalies. Both magnetos were removed from the engine, and produced spark from all towers when rotated. All spark plugs were removed for examination, and exhibited light gray deposits. Seven of the eight spark plugs were Champion REM38E. The number 3 bottom plug was an Autolite Urem40E.

The carburetor was intact and secure on the manifold, and residual fuel was observed inside the throttle body. The throttle lever on the carburetor was at idle. The mixture control was full rich. The carburetor heat valve was in the cold position. No external stains were observed on the carburetor. The carburetor was opened, and removed for examination. The plastic float was intact. The needle valve and seat was free to move and operated normally. The main nozzle and internal passages were clear of obstructions. The inlet screen was clean. The fuel pump was intact and secure on the case and removed for examination. The pump was found to contain residual clean fuel. The pump arm was manipulated by hand and pumping action was noted. The induction air box was impact damaged. The induction air filter was intact.

PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation preformed a postmortem and Toxicological examination of the private pilot on January 2, 2006. The reported cause of death was blunt force trauma. The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage of the airplane was released to CTC Aviation, Atlanta, Georgia.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot's failure to maintain sufficient altitude while performing an instrument approach in instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in an in-flight collision with trees and terrain.

Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180
Where: Laramie, Wyoming
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Phase of Flight: In Flight

At 22:16 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28-180 piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged when it impacted mountainous terrain during cruise flight, 6 miles northwest of Centennial, Wyoming. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 on a visual flight rules flight plan. The pilot and his two passengers were fatally injured. The cross-country flight departed the Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport (RKS) approximately 21:15, and was en route to Grand Island, Nebraska (GRI).

According to Blue Ridge Aeronautics, a flight school in Vacaville, California, the flight departed Nut Tree Airport (VCB) approximately 11:00 Pacific standard time (PST). The flight was to travel to Grand Island, Nebraska, on the 17th and continue on to Chicago, Illinois, on the 18th. The pilot reported to the flight school that he intended to follow Interstate 80 for the entire flight.

The pilot filed a flight plan and obtained a weather briefing from the McMinnville Flight Service Station, starting at 10:39 PST. According to the recording, the pilot intended to fly from VCB to Elko, Nevada (EKO), on to RKS, with a final destination of GRI. The pilot filed a 13-hour flight plan with the intension to stop in EKO and RKS for fuel services. The pilot activated his flight plan with Rancho Radio at 12:32 PST. No updates with regards to the flight's progress were made.

According to the airport manager in RKS, the airplane arrived approximately 20:30 and obtained fuel services. The pilot purchased 24.3 gallons of fuel and a flight guide. According to the employee who fueled the airplane, "the pilot seemed very unfamiliar with the area and the terrain." The airplane did not arrive in GRI and an Alert Notification (ALNOT) was issued for the missing airplane.

According to National Track Analysis Program (NTAP) radar data, the airplane was tracked from RKS to 10 miles west of Centennial. After departure from RKS, the airplane climbed to an encoded altitude of 13,500 feet mean sea level (msl). Radar data was lost at 22:16:15, at an encoded altitude of 12,900 feet msl. Search and rescue crews located the airplane wreckage approximately 08:30 on the morning of January 19th.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 26, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He was issued a third class airman medical certificate. The certificate contained no limitations.

The pilot's logbook was located in the airplane wreckage. A review of the logbook indicated that the pilot had logged no less than 95 hours total time; 66 of which were in the make and model of the accident airplane. The pilot had logged only 3 hours of night flight experience; all of which was logged during his private pilot training. The pilot's logbook also reflected approximately 11 hours of instrument ground trainer training. According to the flight school, he was working towards his instrument rating.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane, a Piper PA-28-180, was manufactured in 1974. It was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration on a standard airworthiness certificate for normal operations. The airplane was equipped with an O-360-A4A Lycoming engine rated at 180 horsepower at 2700 rpm. The engine was equipped with a Sensenich 2-blade, fixed pitch propeller.

A review of the maintenance records indicated that an Event III inspection had been completed at an airframe total time of 2,940.8 hours. The airplane had flown 43.8 hours between the last inspection and the accident and had a total airframe time of 2,984.6 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

The pilot obtained a standard weather briefing from the McMinnville Flight Service Station (FSS). During the briefing, Airman's Meteorological Information (AIRMETs), current weather observations, satellite, en route forecasts, winds aloft forecasts, terminal aerodrome forecasts, and Notices to Airmen were discussed with the pilot. Aside from the initial weather briefing, no weather updates were provided to the pilot through the FSS or Direct User Access Terminal System (DUATS).

A Surface Analysis chart, prepared by the National Weather Service (NWS), National Center for Environmental Prediction, depicted a lee side slope low with a central pressure over northeastern Colorado and a high pressure system over western Colorado, resulting in a steep pressure gradient over Colorado and Wyoming. Doppler weather radar scanned the accident area at 2152:23, 2202:06, and 2211:48. Data indicated reflectivity values of -15 to 5 dBz in the accident area around the accident time.

Aviation area forecasts were issued for Wyoming the day of the accident, starting at 20:45. The forecast for the southwestern quarter of Wyoming was for scattered to broken clouds at 10,000 feet, broken layers between 12,000 and 13,000 feet, with tops to 15,000 feet. Widely scattered light snow showers were expected until 23:00. The forecast for the southeastern quarter of Wyoming was for scattered clouds at 11,000 feet, scattered to broken clouds at 15,000 feet, with tops to 17,000 feet. Conditions were forecast to change to scattered to broken clouds at 11,000 feet, broken clouds at 16,000 feet, with visibility 5 statute miles in light snow.

AIRMETS for mountain obscuration (SIERRA), and turbulence (TANGO) were all issued for Wyoming and Colorado, including portions of the accident airplane's route of flight. AIRMET SIERRA for mountain obscuration stated to expect mountains to be obscured by clouds, precipitation, mist, and fog. These forecast conditions were issued at 1945 and forecast to continue beyond 0200 the following day. AIRMET TANGO stated to expect moderate turbulence below flight level 180. This forecast area was just to the south of the accident airplane's route of flight.

The closest official weather observation station was Laramie Regional Airport (KLAR), Laramie, Wyoming, located 27 nautical miles (nm) east of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 7,278 feet msl. The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for LAR, issued at 2153, reported, winds, 290 degrees at 9 knots, gusting to 18 knots, visibility, 10 statute miles; sky condition, clear; temperature minus 10 degrees Celsius (C); dew point, minus 18 degrees C; altimeter, 29.94 inches.

According to the United States Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department Sun and Moon Data, the sunset was recorded at 17:00 and the end of civil twilight was 17:30. The moon rose at 0639 and set at 1516 on the day of the accident.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) arrived on scene approximately 13:00. The accident site was located in mountainous, forested, snow covered terrain. The accident site was at an elevation of 10,710 feet msl and the airplane impacted on a magnetic heading of 260 degrees.

The first identified point of contact (FIPC) was located to the east of the main wreckage. The FIPC consisted of a ground scar 20 feet in length and 24 inches wide. Green lens fragments were located within the ground scar, at the northeast end of the scar. White paint flecks were located along the length of the ground scar.

A second ground scar proceeded up slope towards the main wreckage. Small sapling pine trees were bent and broken towards the main wreckage. Debris within the ground scar included a cabin door, a 4 inch outboard portion of the propeller, broken Plexiglas, fiberglass, the wheel pants from both main landing gear, the nose wheel assembly, the wingtips from the left and right wing, and a 6 foot outboard portion of the right wing.

The main wreckage was located 160 feet from the FIPC and came to rest on a magnetic heading of 080 degrees. The main wreckage consisted of the engine assembly (to include the propeller), the fuselage, empennage, left wing, and portions of the right wing. The wreckage came to rest inverted with the left wing extended vertically in the air and the right wing folded aft along the belly of the fuselage.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy revealed the cause of death as "massive trauma secondary to an airplane crash."

During the autopsy, specimens were collected for toxicological testing.  All tests for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol were negative. Phentermine was found in the urine and blood (0.35 ug/ml).

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The wreckage was recovered and relocated to a hangar in Greeley, Colorado, for further examination. The Safety Board IIC and representatives from Piper Aircraft and Lycoming Engines examined the wreckage on February 7, 2007.

The fuselage, to include the cabin area, and instrument panel, was crushed up and aft along the floor of the structure. The instrument panel was destroyed and the occupiable space within the cabin was reduced. The mixture/throttle quadrant separated from the airframe and both controls were crushed aft. The fuel selector valve was selected for the right tank.

The engine gauges and airplane instruments displayed the following indications:
Tachometer - 1,400 rpm - 1,261.2 hours
Vertical Speed Indicator - 1,850 feet per minute descent

The empennage, to include the vertical stabilizer, rudder, and stabilator remained attached to the fuselage. The vertical stabilizer was bent to the right and exhibited wrinkled metal. The leading edge of both the left and right stabilator was crushed aft. Control continuity to both the rudder and stabilator was confirmed.

The right wing, to include the right main landing gear, right aileron, and right flap, remained partially attached to the fuselage. Approximately 6 feet of the outboard portion of the wing separated. The aileron remained partially attached to the outboard portion of the wing. The leading edge of both portions of the wing exhibited aft accordion crushing. Skin along the fuel tank rivet line was torn and the fuel tank was compromised. The flap assembly remained attached and was wrinkled and bent. No reliable position indication could be established. Control continuity to the right aileron was confirmed.

The left wing, to include the left main landing gear, left aileron, and left flap, remained partially attached to the fuselage. The landing gear remained attached to the wing assembly. The leading edge of the wind exhibited aft accordion crushing. Skin along the fuel tank rivet line was torn and the fuel tank was compromised. The flap assembly remained attached; however, no reliable position indication could be established. Control continuity to the left aileron was confirmed.

The engine was separated from the fuselage for further examination. The top spark plugs were removed and exhibited normal signs of operation. The propeller flange was crushed aft, preventing rotation of the engine. The flange was removed and the engine was rotated through at the vacuum pump drive. Engine continuity, valve movement, and tactile compression were confirmed at all 4 cylinders. The magnetos were rotated by hand, which produced a spark at each lead. The oil screen and fuel screen were free of contaminants. The vacuum pump was removed and further examination revealed no anomalies.

The propeller assembly remained attached to the engine at the propeller flange. The blades were labeled "A" and "B" for identification purposes only. Blade "A" was bowed aft 45 degrees and twisted. It exhibited leading edge polishing and a portion of the tip was missing. Blade "B" exhibited leading edge polishing and cordwise scratches. The blade was bowed aft and twisted and 13 inches of the outboard blade separated.

The airplane was the subject of an alert notification. The accident site was located in forested, mountainous terrain at an elevation 10,710 feet msl. Sunset was recorded at 1700 and the end of civil twilight was recorded at 1730. The moon rose at 0639 and set at 1516 on the day of the accident. Doppler weather radar depicted an area of light snow showers along the route of flight, near the wreckage location. An AIRMET for mountain obscuration was issued along the route of flight. According to the pilot's flight records, he had logged 3 hours of night flight experience, over a year prior to the accident. An examination of the airframe, airplane's systems, and power plant revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal and correct operation prior to impact.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot's inadvertent flight into adverse weather conditions resulting in a loss of aircraft control. Contributing factors include the pilot's improper preflight planning and decision making, the pilot's spatial disorientation, the pilot's lack of night currency, the dark night, and the snow, low clouds, and low visibility

Aircraft: Piper PA 31-350
Where: Hollywood, FL
Injuries: 1 fatal, 4 serious
Phase of Flight: Approach

The pilot stated that on the day of the accident he ordered fuel only on the first flight of the day. He said he did not add additional fuel during subsequent flights. He said he flew the accident airplane from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Chubb Cay, Bahamas, to Big Whale Cay, Bahamas, back to the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. He said he then departed Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport with his next load of passengers and flew to the North Eleuthera Airport, North Eleuthera, Bahamas, without having refueled, and was returning from North Eleuthera, Bahamas, to the Fort Lauderdale International Airport, when he ditched the airplane off Dania Beach, Florida, in the Atlantic Ocean. When asked whether the fuel on board the airplane had been exhausted, the pilot stated, "the way the engines were acting, it seemed like the airplane ran out of fuel."

On scene examination of the airplane, as well as follow on examination of its engines revealed no pre-accident anomalies with the airplane or its systems. Information obtained from the FAA showed that at 1757, the pilot contacted FAA Miami Approach Control and advised "minimum fuel, further stating that he was not declaring an emergency at that time. At 1758, the controller responded, passing communications control to the FAA Fort Lauderdale Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT). In response to the pilot's initial communications call to the Fort Lauderdale ATCT, the pilot was given a clearance to land on runway 09R, and told that he was number one. At 1758:43, the pilot replied, asking if there was any chance of getting runway 27L, and at 1759:17, the controller instructed the pilot to descend at his discretion and remain slightly south of final for landing on runway 27L, and to expect 27L.

At 1800:07, the pilot contacted the controller and stated, "two five yankee would like to declare an emergency at this time." At 1800:10, the controller responded, "two five yankee yes sir runway two seven left you are cleared to land the wind zero one zero at six." At 1800:16 the pilot responded acknowledging the wind report, and at 1800:27, the controller asked whether the nature of the emergency was minimum fuel, to which the pilot responded, "exactly two five yankee may be coming in dead stick. At 1800:40, the pilot stated that he had the airport in sight and will try to glide, and at 1801:32, the pilot said "two five yankee I'm going to be short of the shore." At 1802, the pilot ditched the airplane about 300 yards from the Dania Beach shoreline, in the area of John Lloyd State Park, in about 15 feet of water. The occupants of the airplane consisted of the pilot and four passengers. All exited the airplane and one passenger drowned in the Atlantic Ocean when according to the pilot "he was in a state of panic" when he tried to instruct him in the use of the life vest while they was in the water, and subsequently tried to use him for flotation when he tried to help him. All remaining passengers confirmed that the pilot had not given them any pre-departure safety related briefing prior to or during the accident flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:  The pilot's inadequate planning for a Title 14 CFR Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight, and his failure to refuel the airplane, which resulted in fuel exhaustion while en route over the Atlantic Ocean, a power off glide, and ditching in the ocean.

Aircraft: PA-32-300
Where: Marathon, FL
Injuries: 2 fatal
Phase of Flight: In flight

At about 1951 Eastern Standard Time, a Piper PA-32-300 crashed into the Florida Bay about 12.7 nautical miles northeast of Marathon, Florida. The flight was operating as an intercept training flight with a Coast Guard HU-25. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed. The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary private pilot and aerial observer were fatally injured. The flight originated from Opa Locka, Florida, as Coast Guard Aux 113, about 1 hour 22 minutes before the accident.

The Coast Guard aircraft commander stated they were conducting air intercept training. The PA-32 was initially flying north and south in the vicinity of the Dade-Collier Airport acting as a target aircraft. They moved to another area due to traffic. They moved further south over the Everglades. The Pa-32 was at 1,500 feet and the HU-25 was at 1,000 feet in a 1/2-mile trail position. As they were approaching the Flamingo ranger station, the pilot of the PA-32 was asked if he was comfortable continuing for an additional 2 to 3 miles so they could stabilize their position. He stated there was no problem, and that he had a visual on the Marathon Airport located about 25 miles to the south. About 1-1 1/2 minutes later, the Piper pilot stated it was getting a bit hazy. He informed the other crew that they would be breaking off and turning to the north to get separation for another intercept.

The HU-25 accelerated to 230 knots and asked the Piper to proceed north at a slower speed to allow separation. The Piper responded, "I'm IMC maintain 180 degrees." Crew of the HU-25 informed the Piper that they were well to the north and that there was no conflict with their aircraft. Multiple calls were made on the primary, emergency and the Marathon UNICOM frequency with negative response from the Piper. They contacted the Operations Duty Officer in Miami and asked them to initiate lost communications procedures and to launch a helicopter to begin a search. In addition, they returned to the Flamingo ranger station and began a track line search monitoring the primary and emergency radio procedures. After the Coast Guard helicopter arrived they departed back to Miami to refuel and to get night vision goggles to assist in the search.

Review of NTAP radar data reveals that the Coast Guard HU-25 started a right turn to the north at an altitude of 1,000 feet. The Piper was southbound at 1,600 feet. It was observed in a slight left turn southbound and then started a turn back to the right. The airplane is observed to make another left and right turn maintaining 1,600 feet. It then started a left turn and stopped the turn on a northeast heading at 1,500 feet. This was followed by the start of a right turn. The last recorded radar hit is at 00:51:08, at 1,500 feet.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION
The nearest weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was Marathon Airport, Marathon, Florida. The 1953 surface weather observation was: clear, visibility 9 miles, temperature 72 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 70 degrees Fahrenheit, wind 110 degrees at 5 knots, and altimeter 30.13. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was located submerged in about 6 feet of water, 12.7 nautical miles north east of Marathon, Florida, in the Florida Bay. The airplane was recovered and transported to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport for examination. Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane collided with the Florida Bay in a descending attitude, right wing low on a heading of 290 degrees magnetic. Examination of the airframe, and flight controls revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. All components necessary for flight were present at the crash site. Continuity of the flight control system was confirmed for pitch, roll, and yaw.

Auxiliary Aviation Standard Operating Procedures (AUXAIR-SOP) for the Seventh Coast Guard District states on page R-5-C-4 in paragraph 5 MISSIONS SCHEDULES AND CALL OUT (2) F., "only instrument-rated pilot may fly at night." Review of the pilot's logbook and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Log revealed the pilot had flown 20 night missions for a total of 41.1 hours without an instrument rating. Paragraph 3. Communications a. states, "After becoming airborne, the pilot will notify the Coast Guard by radio that the patrol has commenced." The pilot made no radio call after departing Opa Locka Airport.

Review of the Commandant's Instruction M16798.3D, Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual states on page 6-3 F. Flight Plans, "A Coast Guard Auxiliary pilot must file a flight plan for each ordered flight." No flight plan was filed. It further states in G. Preflight Activities. 1. Weather Briefing, "The pilot of a Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft on orders must get a weather briefing before every mission." It states on page 6-5 J. Position Reporting Requirements, "During all ordered missions, the pilot must establish a radio guard via direct contact with a Coast Guard or Auxiliary radio station." No radio guard was established by the PA-32.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows: The pilot-in-command's lack of recent experience in instrument flight resulting in the pilot becoming spatially disoriented, and subsequent in-flight collision with water while descending.
Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300
Where: Atlanta GA
Injuries: 3 fatal
Phase of Flight:

At 1402 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-32-300 collided with trees and the ground shortly after takeoff from Dekalb-Peachtree Airport, Atlanta, Georgia. The business flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with an instrument flight rules flight plan filed. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane was destroyed, and the private pilot and three passengers received fatal injuries. The flight departed Dekalb-Peachtree Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, at 1353.

At 1341:30, the pilot contacted Dekalb-Peachtree ground control and received clearance for his instrument flight to Savannah International Airport in Savannah, Georgia. At 1343:19, the pilot advised ground control the airplane was ready to taxi. The pilot was given taxi instructions to runway 20L. At 1352:06, the Dekalb-Peachtree local controller advised the pilot to taxi into position and hold on runway 20L, and, at 1352:59, the flight was cleared for takeoff and was given a departure heading of 090 degrees. The pilot acknowledged and correctly read back the heading. Once airborne, the pilot was instructed to contact departure control, which the pilot acknowledged.

At 1354:19, the pilot contacted departure control and reported climbing through 1,500 feet. The departure controller advised the pilot of radar contact and instructed the pilot to climb and maintain 4,000 feet, which the pilot acknowledged. According to recorded radar data, the pilot initially flew a 089 degrees magnetic heading and continued eastbound. At 1355:21, the airplane began a right turn.

At 1356:19, the departure controller again instructed the pilot to fly a 090-degree heading, and the pilot repeated the assigned heading. Radar data between 1355:21 to 1356:49, showed the airplane flying a wide right arc back over the Dekalb-Peachtree Airport and the VOR.

At 1357:05, the departure controller contacted the pilot and stated, "november zero five whiskey, you were given a ninety degrees off the runway, correct?" At 1357:10, the pilot replied, "yes sir, we're showing flying eastbound." Radar data at the time of the pilot's reply showed the airplane was on heading of 099 degrees. At 1357:14, the departure controller stated, "okay, just looked like you made a three-sixty out there for a minute." At 1357:19, the pilot replied, "yes sir, we gotcha now." In an interview conducted on February 26, 2002, the departure controller stated he asked the pilot if he had received a 090 heading because he wanted to verify the heading clearance without berating the pilot on the frequency, and he wanted to bring the heading discrepancy to the pilot's attention. The departure controller stated that he believed the pilot was OK, based upon the pilot's reply.

At 1357:25, the airplane began a right turn from a 105 heading and traveled in an arc back toward the Dekalb-Peachtree Airport and VOR. At 1357:52, the departure controller began briefing a relief controller who was to assume the departure controller's duties. The departure controller stated to the relief controller, "four one zero five whiskey is supposed to be on a ninety heading climbing to four, still looks like he's heading south." The departure controller then contacted the pilot, "four one zero five whiskey, say your heading."

At 1358:13, the pilot replied, "zero five whiskey, two four zero." Radar data at the time of the pilot's reply showed the airplane on a 243 degree heading as it continued in a constant-rate right turn toward the Dekalb-Peachtree Airport and VOR. The departure controller replied, "alright, you're supposed to be heading zero niner zero." The pilot replied, "Alright, zero five whiskey, is that right to zero nine zero?" At 1358:25, the departure controller instructed the pilot to turn left to 090 degrees, and the pilot replied. The departure controller stated he observed the airplane  begin the left turn and start leveling off at 4,000 feet. The departure controller then resumed briefing the relief controller with the status of three other aircraft being handled. The departure controller made no further communications with any aircraft, and the relief controller assumed the departure controller's duties. In an interview, the departure controller stated he did not believe the pilot was in danger, because the pilot could maintain altitude, and the pilot never sounded unsure of himself or under stress.

At 1358:24, the satellite handoff controller contacted the Dekalb-Peachtree local controller and stated, "remember that zero five whiskey that departed two airplanes ago? ... Did he look like he knew what was going on?" The local controller responded, "He seemed fine." At 1358:51, the satellite handoff controller stated, "... I think we're just going to kind of watch him for a minute here."

Between 1359:16 and 1400:07, radar data showed the airplane flying in a level left turn at 4,000 feet to a heading of about 060 degrees, the magnetic heading was fluctuating from 045 to 074 degrees.

At 1400:11, radar data showed N4105W began a right turn. At 1400:48, radar data showed the airplane descended to 3,500 feet. At 1400:53, the relief controller stated, "november zero five whiskey, you want to inform me about what you're trying to do?" The pilot replied, "zero five whiskey, trying to get out of a spin." The relief controller asked, "trying to get out of where?" At 1401:01, the pilot said, "got a problem here." No further transmissions were recorded from the pilot. At 1401:46, the last recorded radar data showed the airplane in a right spiral pattern with at an altitude of 2,200 feet. The relief controller stated the pilot sounded calm and in control. The relief controller said, after the pilot reported a spin, the controller chose not to say anything else, because he believed the pilot needed to concentrate on flying.

Several witnesses on the ground observed the airplane cross interstate 85 below the clouds at what appeared to be a wings-level, nose-low attitude, then it turned sharply to the right and collided with trees in a steep nose-low, right wing-low attitude.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private certificate with an airplane single-engine land and instrument rating. The pilot's flight time as recorded in the pilot logbook was 215.3 hours total time, 8.6 hours actual instrument time, and 46 hours simulated instrument time. The pilot held a third class medical certificate, with no limitations or waivers.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Piper PA-32-300 was a low-wing airplane powered by a Lycoming IO-540-K1A5, six-cylinder, 300-horsepower engine. A review of the aircraft logbooks revealed the airplane received a 100 hour / annual inspection and a 50-hour inspection.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Dekalb-Peachtree Airport 1355 weather observation reported winds110 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 2 statute miles, sky overcast at 400 feet with light rain and mist. Temperature was reported at 1 degree Celsius, dew point at minus 1 degree Celsius, and altimeter setting of 30.10. Remarks included ceiling variable between 300 feet and 900 feet. At 1320, the Dekalb-Peachtree Airport automatic terminal information service (ATIS) broadcast information golf (G). The broadcast included the following 1320 special weather information: wind 110 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 2 statute miles, rain, mist, ceiling 600 feet, overcast sky conditions, temperature 1 degree Celsius, dew point missing, altimeter setting 30.14. A review of air traffic control data revealed at 1359:39, a Learjet maneuvering near Dekalb-Peachtree Airport at 6,000 feet reported moderate turbulence.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was found 1.85 miles east of Dekalb-Peachtree Airport in a wooded, swampy area beside an access road off interstate 85. The wreckage debris covered an area approximately 200 feet by 80 feet along a heading of 055 degrees from a tree that was freshly broken 50 feet above ground level. A second tree, approximately 30 feet along the wreckage path, was freshly broken three feet above ground level.

The empennage, rudder, and partial cabin were located 70 feet from the initial impact point. All fuel tanks were found ruptured, and an odor of fuel was present at the accident site.

The engine was found separated from the airframe and inverted. The engine displayed impact damage on the left and top section. The case of the engine was cracked, and the pushrods showed impact damage. The number one and number six cylinders were removed to facilitate an internal inspection. Partial rotation of the crankshaft was established, and the fuel servo screen was clear of contamination. The oil suction screen and oil filter element were also clear of contamination.

The propeller was found attached to the crankshaft flange. The propeller displayed impact damage, and both blades displayed torsional bending and twisting.

The empennage displayed impact damage. The left side of the stabilator was found separated, and the left stabilator spar was bent aft approximately 55 degrees. The left outboard tip was not located.

The right wing aileron and flap displayed impact damage. The leading edge of the wing displayed circular impact deformation with tree bark found imbedded in the wing. The right main gear was separated. The primary cable was found separated at the cabin area. The balance cable was found separated near the bellcrank. The cable separation characteristics were consistent with tension overload.

The left wing aileron and flap displayed impact damage. The left wing was found separated at the wing root. The left main gear was separated. The aileron bellcrank was found attached to its attachment points, and the stops were in place and intact. Aileron cables were found separated at the wing root. The aileron cable separation characteristics were consistent with tension overload. The flap torque tube mechanism was found separated.

The right magneto was not located. The left magneto was found damaged and produced no spark when rotated by hand. The gascolator and fuel lines were not located. The fuel pump and oil cooler were impact damaged. The vacuum pump and vacuum gauge were not located. The vacuum regulator valve was found damaged. The standby vacuum system cockpit control knob was found in the full forward off position in a separated portion of cockpit panel. The standby vacuum system unit was not located.

The cockpit flight controls, panel, switches, communication and navigation radios, autopilot unit, engine controls, flight instruments, and engine instruments were found scattered along the wreckage path and damaged. Examination of the recovered directional gyro components revealed only the compass card, empty casing, and few internal gears were located. Examination of the attitude indicator revealed the internal rotor components displayed rotational scoring.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot. The cause of death was listed as massive injuries. Forensic toxicology of specimens from the pilot was performed at the Federal Aviation Administration Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology revealed no carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, nor drugs were detected.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to personnel at a fueling facility at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport, the airplane had been topped off with 100LL aviation fuel before departure.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot experienced spatial disorientation that resulted in the loss of control.

Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-300
Where: Camden, AL
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Phase of Flight: Approach

At 1339 Central Standard Time, a Piper PA-32R-300 operated by a commercial-rated pilot as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with trees and crashed in a ravine while approaching to land at Camden Municipal Airport, Camden, Alabama. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed and activated. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces. The commercial-rated pilot received serious injuries, and the passenger was fatally injured. The flight originated from Hardy-Anders Field Airport, Natchez, Mississippi.

According to personnel at the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center (AARTCC), at 1326, the pilot was advised to descend at his own discretion. At 1333, the pilot contacted AARTCC personnel and reported that he had "broke out of the clouds and was clear". The pilot reported to "go ahead and cancel IFR at this time". AARTCC advised the pilot that there was no one between him and Camden "squawk 1200, cancellation received and frequency change approved". No further radio contact was made with the pilot. The last recorded radar contact by AARTCC was at 1333:57. The flight was at an altitude of 3,300 feet and at coordinates of 31.57:29N, 087.36:28W. This position was 15 statute miles west of the Camden Airport and 4 statute miles west of the accident site.At 1800, a family member of the passenger notified the Anniston Flight Service Station (FSS) that the airplane was overdue. Anniston FSS personnel contacted the Wilcox County Emergency 911 service to check to see if an airplane with white and green stripes had landed at the Camden Airport. At 1818, the Wilcox County Emergency 911 informed Anniston FSS that the aircraft was not at the airport. The Wilcox County Emergency 911 service contacted the Pine Hill police department to have them check at the Pine Hill Municipal Airport, Pine Hill, Alabama, to see if the airplane had landed there. The Pine Hill police department informed the Wilcox Emergency 911 that it was not at that airport. Local pilots began searching the area for airplane but called off the search due to heavy rain. Later, the search resumed and at 0830, ground crews located the wreckage 11 miles west of the Camden Airport.

PILOT INFORMATION

Review of the records on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a commercial certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multi-engine land. FAA records revealed that the pilot had a total flight time of 2,337 hours. The pilot's logbooks were not recovered for review. The pilot held an FAA third-class airman medical certificate with restrictions for corrective lenses.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a 1977 Piper PA-32R-300, a six-place, low-wing airplane with a retractable tricycle landing gear. The airplane was equipped with a 300-horsepower Lycoming IO-540-KIG5D engine. The airplane was equipped with a Hartzell 3 bladed propeller.

Review of the FAA form 8130-3 revealed airframe total time at the annual inspection was 6,262 hours, and the Hobbs time was 6,262 hours. The total time on the engine since overhaul at the annual inspection was 311.6 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The nearest weather reporting facility, KGZH, in Evergreen, Alabama, reported at 1253, winds were from 150 degrees at 14 knots, greater than 10 miles visibility, sky clear, altimeter-setting 30.23.

WRECKAGE EXAMINATION

The wreckage was located in a wooded area off the Mt. Andrews Cemetery Road and County Road 18 at position 31.57:384N, 087.32:048W, 11 miles west of the Camden Airport. Examination of the crash site revealed that the airplane collided with trees while on a 120-degree magnetic heading and then proceeded 225 feet down into a ravine. The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft, and all three blades displayed impact damage. The engine was separated from the firewall, displaced to the left, and hanging over a stream. The engine cowling was separated from the airframe and pieces were scattered throughout the crash site.

The cockpit and the cabin section of the airplane were buckled. The instrument panel was buckled and damaged. The throttle control was impact damaged and full forward. The propeller control was impact damaged and in the full forward position. The mixture control was impact damaged and full forward.

The fuselage was intact. The forward bottom right side floorboard at the rudder pedals had impact damage and was bent upwards. The forward left and right windshields were destroyed by impact. The flap handle was found in the 0-degree or "up" flap position. Flap control continuity was established from the flap handle to the torque tube bar and the left flap. The gear lever was found in the gear-down position. The right side fuselage skins were wrinkled. The forward baggage area was crushed aft. The nose gear was damaged and bent aft.

Examination of the right wing assembly revealed it was separated at the wing root. The right wing was impact damaged and separated approximately three feet from the wing root. The right wing tip was located 75 feet away from the main fuselage, and parts of the wing were scattered throughout the debris path. Both right wing fuel tanks were destroyed, and no fuel was found in the right wing. The aileron had impact damage and was separated from its attachment points. The aileron was found along the debris path. The bellcrank remained in place. Aileron control continuity was established from the right bellcrank to the aileron control chain in the cockpit, and the bellcrank stops were in place. The right flap was impact damaged and remained attached to the wing. The flap push-pull rod was bent and separated from the flap torque tube bar. The flap torque tube bar measurement revealed that the flap was in the up position.

The left wing remained attached to the fuselage. The wing outboard tip was resting against the left side of the ravine. The outboard tip was damaged. The left main landing gear was extended. Both fuel tanks remained intact and the fuel cap was secure. Blue fuel stains were noted around the fuel cap. Thirteen gallons of fuel was recovered from the left fuel tanks. The bottom of the wing exhibited brown and blue stains. The aileron was attached to the wing. Aileron continuity was established from the left aileron to the right bellcrank. The left flap was attached to the wing and found in the up position.

The rudder and vertical fin were attached to their attachment points. The right side of the vertical fin was damaged. The rudder balance weight was separated and found at the main wreckage site. The rudder stops were in place. Rudder control continuity was established from the rudder to the rudder pedals.

The stabilator and stabilator trim tab were attached to their attachment points. The right side of the stabilator had impact damage and was bent aft. The right outboard tip was separated and found on the left wing. The stabilator stops were in place. Stabilator control continuity was established from the stabilator to the cockpit "T" bar.

The fuel selector lever in the cockpit was damaged and found indicating between the left and right tank positions. The fuel selector valve was found in the left main fuel tank position. Approximately an ounce of fuel blue in color was drained from the fuel selector valve. The fuel selector valve was field tested by applying low-pressure air through its ports and was found to be unobstructed in all positions. The electric fuel pump was in the "off" position. The electric fuel pump was field tested by applying external battery power, and it operated with no anomalies noted. The fuel flow divider was absent of fuel, and the line from the servo to the flow divider was found absent of fuel. The fuel filter screen and bowl exhibited small amounts of ferrous particles.

Examination of the engine revealed the spark plugs all exhibited light gray color combustion deposits. The cylinders were bore scoped and no anomalies were noted. The crankshaft was rotated, and all six cylinders produced compression. Gear and valve train continuity was established. In preparation for a test run a club (test) propeller was installed. The impact damaged fuel pump was substituted with a serviceable pump. The damaged Nos. 1 and 2 rocker covers were replaced, and the damaged wire harness was repaired for test run purposes. An external battery and fuel source was used to start the engine. The engine was started an idled at 1,000 rpm. The engine was run to 2,300 rpm for ten minutes. A magneto check was performed at full throttle and the rpm drops were 200 rpm for each magneto. The 200-rpm drop was attributed to the damaged and repaired wire harness.

Examination of the spinner and propeller revealed frontal impact crush damage. All three blades had multiple bends, twisting, and rotational scoring consistent with rotation and power at the time of impact. Although the blades had indications of rotational energy, an accurate estimate of power output could not be determined.

PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The pilot was transported to the West Florida Hospital, Pensacola, Florida with serious injuries.

The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences conducted a postmortem examination of the passenger on January 30, 2006. The reported cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries."

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to an acquaintance of the pilot, because of his injuries, the pilot was unable to recall any details of the events leading up to the accident.

A review of fueling records revealed that at Mobile Downtown Airport (KBFM), Mobile, Alabama, the airplane was topped off with 1.8 gallons of fuel.

The airplane wreckage was released to Atlanta Air Salvage on November 3, 2006.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot's failure to maintain altitude and clearance during a visual descent which resulting in an in-flight collision with trees and the ground for undetermined reasons.

Aircraft: Piper PA-24-260B
Where:
Archer, Florida
Injuries:
None
Phase of Flight:
Takeoff

About 1150 Eastern Daylight Time, a Piper PA-24-260B,N9291P, registered to and operated by a private individual, as a Title 14 CFR 91 personal flight, collided with a bale of hay while taking off at Peach Orchard Airport, Archer, Florida. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The airline transport-rated pilot and one passenger received no injuries, and the airplane incurred substantial damage. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot stated that during the takeoff roll he allowed the airplane to drift to the left of the centerline of the runway 18, and the left wing tip contacted one of the bales of hay which line the sides of the runway. He said that the impact with the bale caused the airplane to veer about 90 degrees to the left and exit the runway, and after exiting the runway, the airplane impacted another bale of hay, which spun the airplane further to the left. The airplane came to rest facing to the northwest, and it had incurred damage to its right wing, right main landing gear, and right side of the fuselage. The pilot further stated that prior to the accident there had been no mechanical failure or malfunction to the airplane or to any of its systems.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the takeoff roll/run, which resulted in the airplane veering off the centerline of the runway and impacting an object, incurring damage.

Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250
Where: Granbury, TX
Injuries: 1 serious
Phase of Flight: Takeoff

Approximately 1420 central standard time, a Piper PA-24-250 single-engine airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during takeoff initial climb from the Pecan Plantation Airport (0TX1), near Granbury, Texas. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 business flight. The cross-country flight was originating at the time of the accident and was destined for the Grayson County Airport (GYI), near Sherman, Texas.

The 4,500-hour pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that he departed from Runway 18 with the left main fuel tank selected. At an altitude of approximately 200 feet above ground level, the engine "lost power." The pilot immediately verified that the electric fuel pump was turned on and mixture was set to rich. The pilot then switched to the right main fuel tank before switching back to the left main fuel tank. The pilot initiated a forced landing to a field approximately 1/2 mile south of the airport within a residential area. During the descent, the airplane struck trees approximately 35 feet in height before impacting terrain. The airplane came to rest in the upright position approximately 180 degrees from the original direction of travel.

The pilot further reported that earlier in the morning, he had requested that the local Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at GYI pull the airplane out of the hangar and top off with 100 Low Lead aviation fuel. Upon arriving at GYI, the pilot had realized the airplane had not been refueled. The pilot stated that he was running late and elected to have the FBO only fill the left and right auxiliary fuel tanks. After refueling, he noted that the right main fuel tank and left and right auxiliary fuel tanks were full and there were "only a few gallons" in the left wing fuel tank. After departure from GYI, the pilot stated he selected the right auxiliary fuel tank for the flight, and then selected the left main fuel tank prior to landing at 0TX1.

The pilot added that this was the first time he had ever refueled the airplane without topping off both main wing tanks, and subconsciously thought the left main fuel tank was full prior to departure.

Examination of the airplane by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed the outboard portion of the right wing was crushed upwards and aft. The trailing edge of the left wing was wrinkled near the wing root. The fuselage was wrinkled aft of the baggage compartment to the empennage. The landing gear was observed in the retracted position. The Lycoming O-540-A1D5 engine remained attached to its mounts, and the firewall was bent. Two of the three propeller blades were crushed aft. One propeller blade was free of damage. No visible fuel was found in the left main fuel tank, but fuel was observed in the right main fuel tank and left and right auxiliary fuel tanks. During the aircraft recovery, the recovery company reported they had drained approximately four tablespoons of fuel out of the left fuel tank.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The loss of engine power due to fuel starvation. Contributing factors were the pilot's inadequate preflight planning/preparation, and the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Aircraft: Piper PA 32R
Where: Belle Chase, LA
Injuries: 1 fatal
Phase of Flight: Maneuvering

A Piper PA-32R-300 single-engine airplane was destroyed when it impacted a utility pole and water while maneuvering near the Southern Seaplane Airport near Belle Chase, Louisiana. The private pilot, who was the registered owner of the airplane and the sole occupant, received fatal injuries. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the personal flight. The cross-country flight departed Jonesville, Louisiana, approximately 2030, and was destined for the Southern Seaplane Airport.

Radar data obtained from the New Orleans Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB, located two miles south of the Southern Seaplane Airport) radar facility depicted the airplane approaching the Southern Seaplane Airport from the northwest. The airplane initially descended to 400 feet msl; however, the airplane's altitude fluctuated between 500 and 200 feet msl as it over flew the airport on two separate occasions. The last radar return depicted the airplane at 100 feet msl on a southwest ground track, approximately 0.5 miles northeast of the Southern Seaplane Airport.

Numerous witnesses, who were located near the accident site, reported that they observed the airplane flying low, impact a utility pole, burst into flames and descend into the Intracoastal Canal.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The pilot was issued a third class medical certificate with the following limitation: "must have available glasses for near vision." According to this last medical certificate application, he had accumulated a total of 2,000 flight hours. The pilot's logbook was not located and it is unknown how much flight time he had accumulated in the accident airplane.

According to the pilot's friend, the pilot had landed at the Southern Seaplane Airport on three or four separate occasions; however, he did not think that the pilot had previously flown to that airport at night.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION
At 2155, the New Orleans NAS JRB weather observation facility reported calm wind, visibility 7 statute miles, scattered clouds at 3,000 feet and 20,000 feet, temperature 26 degrees Celsius, dew point 23 degrees Celsius, and altimeter setting of 30.14 inches of Mercury.

According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, the sun set at 2006 on the evening of the accident, and the end of civil twilight occurred at 2033.

AIRPORT INFORMATION
The Southern Seaplane Airport is a private use, non-towered airport located 2 miles northwest of Belle Chase, Louisiana. The airport utilizes a 3,200-foot long asphalt runway and a 5,000-foot long water runway. The asphalt runway, 2-20, has low intensity runway edge lights, which can be activated by the pilot on frequency 119.8. The airport has a rotating beacon; however, it was listed as indefinitely out of service at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot's friend, who was waiting for him at the airport, he could not remember seeing the runway edge lights illuminated. He and his wife added that the only light they noted was one located at the parking lot.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION
The main landing gear were located on the waterway's bank approximately 75 feet from the base of the pole. The nose landing gear was found floating in the water. The FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, stated that he observed tire marks on the upper side of the utility pole. The airplane came to rest inverted underwater.

The airplane was recovered and examined by the FAA inspector. Photographs of the wreckage revealed that the wings were separated from the fuselage at their roots; however, they remained attached to the aircraft via the aileron control cables. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage and the rudder and elevator control cables extended from the control surfaces to the cockpit. The lower side of the horizontal stabilizer sustained fire damage. The flap handle and flaps were found in the retracted position. The landing gear actuator was found in the extended position. Examination of the two communication radios revealed that the communication frequencies selected were 123.80 and 122.80.

The propeller and throttle controls were found in the full forward position. The mixture control was found in the idle cut-off position. The propeller remained attached to the engine and one of the blades was bent aft approximately 90 degrees. The other blade displayed chord wise scrapping near its tip. The engines exhaust pipes were found flattened.

PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy on the pilot was performed. According to the coroner's report, the pilot tested positive for 141 mg/dL of ethanol in vitreous fluids. A toxicological test was conducted by the Civil Air Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicological tests were positive for the following: According to the coroner, some of the ethanol production could be attributed to post-mortem ethanol production; however, the amount of ethanol in vitreous fluids (0.14%) indicated that the pilot was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot's failure to maintain clearance with a utility pole while maneuvering. Contributing factors were the pilot's impairment due to alcohol intoxication and the night light conditions.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Piper PA-32R
Where:
Poynor, Texas
Injuries:
None
Phase of Flight:
Landing

At 1117 Central Standard Time, a Piper PA-32R single-engine airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted a fence on final approach to Pickle Plantation Airport (XS91) near Poynor, Texas. The private pilot and his passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

In a written statement, the pilot stated that he had departed Pickle Plantation airport earlier that day for a local, pleasure flight. Upon his return to the airport, he encountered a downdraft on final approach to runway 17, which caused the airplane to descend more rapidly than normal. The landing gear impacted a barbed wire fence, and the airplane landed approximately 7-feet short of the runway. Runway 17 was reported to be 3,200 feet long by 40 feet wide.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, the main gear had separated from the airplane and the nose gear was folded up in the nose gear wheel-well. Both wings were "buckled and wrinkled," and all three propeller blades were bent back.

The pilot reported a total of 5,216.5 flight hours, of which, 1,447.1 hours were in the same make and model airplane.

The weather at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport (TYR), near Tyler, Texas, 19 miles northeast of the accident site, at 1053, was reported as winds from 090 degrees at 12 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, few clouds at 2,400 feet, broken at 3,400 feet, and a barometric pressure of 30.18 inches of Mercury. The temperature was 61 degrees Fahrenheit, and the dew point was 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control while on final approach. A factor was the downdraft.

Aircraft: Piper PA-46T
Where: Albuquerque NM
Injuries: None

The Piper was substantially damaged when it collided with the runway while landing at the Double Eagle II Airport (AEG) near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Ardmore, Oklahoma. The pilot reported that he was executing the ILS approach to runway 22 and had disconnected the autopilot. He further reported that approximately 100 feet agl, the airplane descended from the clouds and was aligned right of the runway. The pilot attempted to align the airplane with the runway by banking left and then right. As the airplane banked right, the right wing struck the runway. Subsequently, the airplane impacted the runway, exited the runway to the south, and slid about 1,500 feet before coming to a stop upright.

The pilot stated that he "landed on runway 22 and the left landing wheel broke, causing the other two wheels to fold."

The pilot reported that he was not sure if the approach lights and runway lights were operating; however, the airport manager reported that the pilot controlled runway lights were illuminated when he arrived at the accident site after the accident.

The pilot reported that he checked the automated weather observing system (AWOS) "three times shortly before landing," and that "VFR [was] indicated." The pilot further reported that at the time of the accident, snow was falling heavily, light turbulence was present, and the sky was obscured.
Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Piper PA 46-310P
Where: Destin, FL
Injuries: 2 fatal
Phase of Flight: Landing

About 1420 Central Standard Time, a Piper PA-46-310P crashed while circling to land at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, Destin, Florida, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an IFR flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged and the private-rated pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The flight originated about 1248 Eastern Standard Time from the Naples Municipal Airport, Naples, Florida.

According to a witness familiar with aviation, he estimated that the ceiling was 500 feet or less with rain and fog, and he also estimated that the visibility was 1/2 to 3/4 mile. He observed the airplane descend wings level to about 200 feet below the ceiling flying west of runway 32 paralleling the runway with the landing gear extended. He observed the wings rocking then heard the engine power increase and the airplane entered a left bank of at least 60-80 degrees slight nose-up attitude. The nose of the airplane pitched down but the wings rolled level. During the descent the airplane collided with several trees, then a fence and the ground. The airplane came to rest in a backyard of a house and according to the fire department there was a post-crash fire, which was extinguished using AFFF.

According to another witness, the airplane was flying north bound west of runway 32 about 150-200 feet above ground level and the engine was running with no evidence of sputtering. The airplane entered a shallow left bank which increased and the nose of the airplane pitched down. The airplane descended nose and left wing low. He further stated that the engine sound was "steady."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Piper Aircraft training personnel, the pilot had attended the Piper Malibu 46-310P refresher training course on July 6-8, 1993. No biennial flight review or instrument competency check was accomplished during the training. The pilot did fly twice in a simulator which lasted a total of 2.6 hours. One of the simulator sessions included the pilot performing one each of an ILS, localizer back course, and NDB approaches. Additionally, two flights were flown in the airplane, the first lasted 1.6 hours. The second flight lasted 1.6 hours and consisted of one each VOR, and NDB approaches. The pilot's logbook was not located; therefore, no determination could be made as to whether he was instrument current according to 14 CFR Part 61.57 (E)(1). According to the pilot's son who is a pilot, his father was instrument current.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

A review of the aircraft logbook revealed that the last recorded altimeter and pitot static system check occurred on July 23, 1987.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A surface observation was taken at 1438, at the Eglin Air Force Base, Valparaiso, Florida, which revealed the following conditions existed: the ceiling was measured to be 700 feet broken, 3,000 feet overcast, visibility was 3 miles with light rain, the wind was from 080 degrees at 6 knots and the altimeter setting was 30.10 inHg. Eglin AFB is located about 326 degrees magnetic and 6 nautical miles from the accident airport.

COMMUNICATIONS

The pilot was in contact with Eglin Air Force Base Approach controller and was executing the ASR approach to runway 32 at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, Destin, Florida. At 1403.10, the accident pilot contacted the approach controller and advised that the flight was level at 4,000 feet. The approach controller acknowledged and advised the pilot of the above mentioned weather observation. The pilot acknowledged this and asked if the current altimeter setting was 30.11 inHg, to which to controller responded in the affirmative. The controller advised the pilot of the heading and altitude to fly in the event of lost communications. The approach controller issued headings and altitude during the approach and advised the pilot that the minimum descent altitude (MDA) is 440 feet. At 1419.58, the approach controller advised the pilot that the flight was over the missed approach point and if the approach lights are not in sight, climb and maintain 1,000 feet turn left heading 250 degrees. About 9 seconds later the pilot advised that the airport was in sight and that he would be circling to land. The approach controller stated that he may proceed visually and cancel the IFR clearance when on the ground or through the Destin Unicom. There were no further two-way radio communications with the pilot of the accident airplane. According to the individual monitoring the UNICOM radio at the destination airport, the accident pilot did not contact the UNICOM frequency.

Review of recorded radar data revealed that the last recorded radar return was at 1418.38. At that time the altitude indicated 1,300 feet and the airplane was at 30.21.51N latitude, and 086.25.34W longitude. At that time the airplane was about 3 nautical miles southeast of the airport.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane collided with trees during a nose and left wing low descent, then, the airplane collided with a wooded fence and the ground. The airplane came to rest about 15 feet from a house. Both wings were separated outboard from the landing gear which was extended. Additionally, the left horizontal stabilizer was separated. Examination of the flight controls revealed no evidence of pre-impact failure or malfunction. The fuel filter/drain was checked for contaminants; none were found. The right magneto switch was "on" but the left switch was not located. The engine was removed for a test run at the manufacturer's facility in Mobile, Alabama, in the presence of an FAA inspector. Certain components were replaced due to impact damage (listed in the FAA's report) and the engine was started and found to operate to 2610 rpm. According to the type certificate data sheet No. A25SO, the maximum rpm is 2600 from sea level to 24,000 feet.

Toxicological examination was conducted on specimens of the pilot by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and tested drugs. Dextromethorphan was detected in the blood (.094 ug/ml, ug/g) and urine. Additionally salicylate (12.500 ug/ml, ug/g) was detected in the urine.

FIRE

According to the fire department, the post-crash fire was extinguished using a 1 3/4 foam line.

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the lap belt attach point on the right side of the seat for the farthest aft right seat failed due to overload. The male/female ends of the buckle were connected.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: Airspeed not maintained, inadvertent stall/mush, and altitude inadequate for recovery from the in-flight loss of control by the pilot-in-command while circling for landing.

Aircraft: Piper PA-46-310P
Where: Madison, MS
Injuries: None
Phase of Flight: In Flight

While in cruise flight at 23,000 feet mean sea level, the 2,597-hours pilot reported that he heard a   "medium loud pop" about one hour into the flight and noted an immediate drop in manifold pressure to approximately 15-inches. The pilot added that he thought the turbocharger had failed and that the engine would return to normal power when the airplane descended to an altitude below 10,000 feet. However, engine power never returned and the pilot elected to execute a forced landing to a muddy pasture.

Two safety inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) performed an on-scene examination of the airplane and the engine. According to an inspector, the pilot landed in a muddy pasture and the airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, engine fire wall, and landing gear. Examination of the engine, the accessories, and the fuel system revealed no mechanical deficiencies.

When the airplane was recovered, approximately 90 gallons of blue colored aviation fuel was drained from both wing tanks and their respective collector/sump tanks, which were located at the root of each wing. Approximately one-quart of water was drained from both the left and right wing collector/sump tank, which can hold a total capacity of one U.S. gallon each. The engine was test-run on the airframe utilizing the airplane's existing fuel system. Due to the cool outside air temperature, the engine needed to be primed before it started. Once the engine started, it was operated through various power settings and it ran continuously without interruption. The magnetos functioned normally and all engine gauge readings were normal. No mechanical deficiencies were noted that could have contributed to the loss of power.    The pilot stated that he conducted a preflight inspection of the airplane, which included draining both collector/sump tanks. The pilot added that no water was detected in the fuel at that time.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The loss of engine power due to water contamination in the fuel system. A factor was the muddy terrain.

Aircraft: Piper PA-60-602P
Where: Camp Hill, AL
Injuries: 2 fatal
Phase of flight: Cruising

The pilot obtained a weather briefing from an Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) and filed an IFR flight plan before departing on an IFR flight from Cornelia, Georgia, to Pensacola, Florida. The flight service specialist provided information on a line of embedded thunderstorm activity along the route from Atlanta to Mobile including SIGMETs and advised that tops were forecasted to be at 41,000 to 50,000 feet. The specialist suggested that the pilot not depart immediately because of the weather, but said that it might be possible to land at an intermediate stop ahead of the weather, possibly in Pensacola or further north in the Crestview area. The pilot filed an IFR flight plan from Cornelia to Pensacola at 16,000 feet. The pilot called the AFSS again and requested an IFR clearance. The specialist responded that the clearance was on request, and that he would work on the void time and placed the pilot on hold. The specialist obtained the clearance from Atlanta Center and returned back to provide the clearance to the pilot. The pilot was not on the telephone line. The pilot departed Cornelia without an IFR clearance and contacted Atlanta Center. The controller informed the pilot on initial contact that he was not on his assigned heading, altitude, correct transponder code, and subsequently handed the pilot off to another controller.

The flight was subsequently cleared direct to Panama City, Florida, and the pilot was instructed to climb to 16,000 feet. Atlanta Center broadcasted weather alerts over the radio frequency the pilot was on for Center Weather Advisory 101, SIGMETS 73C, 74C and AIRMET Sierra between 0903 to 0913 CDT. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, issued Severe Thunderstorm Watch 329 valid from 0635 CDT until 1300 CDT. The National Weather Service Aviation Weather Center issued Convective SIGMET 73C valid from 0855 CDT until 1055 CDT. The SIGMET was for a line of thunderstorms 40 nautical miles wide, and moving from 280 degrees at 35 knots. The tops of the thunderstorms were at 44,000 feet, with 2-inch hail, and possible wind gusts up to 60 knots. These weather alerts included the route of flight for the accident airplane.

The controllers did not issue the pilot with severe radar-depicted weather information that was displayed on the controller's radar display. The airplane was observed on radar level at 16,000 feet at 09:19:48 CDT heading southwest. The airplane was observed to begin a continuous left turn northwest bound at 15,700 feet at 09:20:38. The pilot called Atlanta center at 09:20:48 CDT and stated, "Aero Star six eight triple nine we're going to make a reverse." and there was no further radio contact with the pilot. The last radar return was at 09:20:59. The airplane was at 15,600 feet. The wreckage was located on May 11, 2006.

Examination of the wreckage revealed the right wing separated 9 feet 2 inches outboard of the wing root. The separated outboard section of the right wing was not recovered. The components were forwarded to the NTSB Laboratory for further examination. Examination of the components revealed the deformation patterns found on the fracture surfaces were consistent with upward bending overstress of the right wing.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's continued flight into known thunderstorms resulting in an in-flight break up. A factor in the accident was air traffic controller's failure to issue extreme weather radar echo intensity information displayed on the controller's radar to the pilot.

Source: National Transportation Board