Plane crash map Find crash sites, wreckage and more

N8447Y accident description

Go to the Georgia map...
Go to the Georgia list...

Tail numberN8447Y
Accident dateFebruary 15, 2000
Aircraft typePiper PA-28-161
LocationChamblee, GA
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On February 15, 2000, at 1227 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-161, N8447Y, encountered vortex turbulence, cart-wheeled and crashed while conducting a touch-and-go operation on runway 2 left (2L) at the Dekalb Peachtree Airport (PDK), Chamblee, Georgia. The aircraft was operated by American Air Flight Training, and flown by the student pilot under the provisions of Title 14, CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local solo flight. The student pilot sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight originated from the PDK Airport in Chamblee, Georgia, about 1115 the same day.

According to witnesses, N8447Y was passed by N5QZ, a Sikorsky S76 helicopter, while on short final to runway 2L. The helicopter then made a low approach over runway 2L, slowing to a hover over or just past the departure end of the runway. According to witnesses, shortly after becoming airborne following the touch-and-go, N8447Y rocked from side to side, then rolled left until the wingtip struck and ground, and the aircraft cart-wheeled and crashed. The PDK Airport has a Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control tower that was open and in contact with both the helicopter and N8447Y at the time of the accident.

The pilot of N8447Y was operating in the local traffic pattern of PDK, conducting repeated landing and takeoff operations in a left-hand traffic pattern for runway 2L. There were numerous other aircraft in the 2L pattern, as well as arrivals and departures operating on both runway 2L and 2R.

According to FAA transcripts of tower communications, at 1221:45, Option 63, a Beech-jet called PDK tower and reported being on a left base for runway 2R. The local Controller cleared Option 63 to land on runway 2R, and advised the pilot of numerous aircraft in the pattern for runway 2L. The pilot of Option 63 acknowledged the landing clearance and the traffic information. The Local Controller reported the wind at that time as 230 degrees at 4 knots.

At 1222:04, the pilot of Sikorsky N5QZ called the tower, advising that he was 8.7 miles south-southwest of the airport for landing. The Local Controller asked N5QZ to "ident" and after observing the "ident-reply" on the tower radar display, instructed the pilot to join a 3 mile final for runway 2L. The pilot acknowledged. At 1222:51, The Local Controller cleared N8447Y for a touch and go landing on runway 2L, and advised the pilot that he was number 3 behind a Cessna. The pilot of N8447Y acknowledged. At 1223:24, the Local Controller asked the pilot of N5QZ, if he was intending to park in the northeast ramp area. The pilot replied that he was, and the Local Controller instructed him to continue for runway 2L and expect sequencing momentarily.

At 1224:28, the Local Controller transmitted, "N5QZ number two runway 2L follow cherokee on a one and a half mile left base, do you have that traffic." The pilot of N5QZ replied, "Quebec Zulu that's in sight number two." At 1225:17, the Local Controller cleared N8447Y for a touch and go on runway 2L, and advised the pilot of traffic to his right landing on the parallel runway. The pilot of N8447Y reported the traffic in sight. At 1225:24, the Local Controller transmitted, "Option sixty three contact ground point six off the runway no delay please good day." At 1225:39, the Local Controller cleared N5QZ for a low approach to runway 2L, and instructed the pilot to continue to the intersection of taxiways Juliet and Alpha after the low approach. The Local Controller also advised N5QZ's crew that a Beech Jet (Option 63) was turning off of runway 2R at the time. The pilot of N5QZ replied, "Quebec Zulu understand and ah we'll go behind him." At 1226:15, the ground controller instructed Option 63 to hold their position for landing helicopter traffic, and the crew responded, "okay we'll hold right here option sixty three."

At 1226:22, the Local Controller transmitted, "five Quebec zulu continue sir and november four seven yankee you can continue for runway two left cleared touch and go, the helicopter was supposed to follow you, you are cleared touch and go that traffic's low approach landing Juliet and alpha." The pilot of N8447Y responded, "four seven yankee ah touch and go." At 1227:15, the Local Controller transmitted "(unintelligible) all aircraft in the pattern go around fly east of the airport. At 1227:25, the Local Controller instructed N5QZ to proceed to the ramp, advising that there was an emergency in progress and cautioning the pilot that fire vehicles would be in the area. Airport rescue and firefighting crews were notified of the crash by the ground controller and responded to the scene immediately.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot of N8447Y was a 36-year-old student pilot. The flight school's records indicated that the student pilot had accumulated 43 hours total flight time, 39 of those hours with an instructor. The student pilot had accumulated four (4) hours solo time including the accident flight with appropriate endorsements in his logbook and on his student pilot certificate. The pilot's first solo was on November 30, 1999. The pilots most recent third class medical/student pilots certificate was issued on June 3, 1999, with no waivers or limitations.

The first pilot of N5QZ, an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP), with ratings in airplane single engine land and sea, airplane multi-engine land and sea, rotorcraft-helicopter. Additionally, the pilot was type rated in the A-109, DA-20, DC-3, L-1329 and the LR-Jet. The pilots most recent first class medical certificate was issued on September 24, 1999, with no waivers or limitations.

The second pilot of N5QZ, an ATP with ratings in airplanes multi-engine land, and had a type rating in the CE-500. Other certificates included commercial ratings in airplane single engine land, rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument helicopter. The pilots most recent first class medical certificate was issued on November 16, 1999, with a limitation to wear corrective lenses while exercising the privileges of his airman certificate.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Piper PA-28-161, was a four (4) seat, single engine airplane, powered by a Lycoming O-360-D3G, engine, and was registered to American Air Flight Training, Inc. On December 17, 1999, the airplane received a 100 hour inspection, with no major discrepancies noted. The logbooks revealed that the airplane had accumulated a total time of 10,453.2 hours, at the time of the accident.

The 1992, Sikorsky S-76B, N5QZ, was an 8 seat, twin engine helicopter, powered by two Pratt & Whitney 980 horsepower PT6 series turbo-shaft engines with a certified gross weight of 11,700 pounds. The helicopter was registered as a standard transport helicopter to Kuse Enterprises Inc. Atlanta, Georgia.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The reported weather at KPDK at 1253, was winds variable three knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 15 degrees Celsius, barometric pressure was 30.21 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site found that the airplane's left wingtip contacted the left side of runway 2L, about 450 feet short of the end of the runway. The wing tip scraped the asphalt for about 15 feet, then the nose of the airplane impacted the ground as evidenced by two distinctive propeller strikes approximately eight inches apart. The airplane continued to cart-wheel until striking the right wing which separated at impact. The airplane continued, separating the left wing and coming to rest inverted 189 feet from the initial impact point, on a 340 degree heading. A fire started in the engine area and was extinguished by airport rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) personnel with minimal fire damage.

The left wing was separated from the fuselage and displayed heavy impact and scrape marks in the wingtip area. The aileron section was found in place with the stop bolts undamaged and secure. The aileron control rod was found separated at the aileron rod end. The separation was examined and appeared to be from overload. No pre-impact damage was noted. Both control cables were found secure to the aileron section but were separated near the wing root. Both separations were examined and found to be typical of tension overload. The aileron was in place but displayed significant impact damage especially near the outboard end. The flap was separated and displayed impact damage. The flap control torque tube on the left side was found in the retracted position. The fuel tank was intact and the fuel petcock was in the locked (closed) position. The landing gear was in place and appeared undamaged.

The right wing was separated from the fuselage and displayed damage in the wingtip area. The aileron section was found in place with stop bolts undamaged and secure. The aileron control rod was found separated at the aileron rod end. The separation was examined and appeared to be from overload. No pre-impact damage was noted. Both control cables were found secure to the aileron section but were separated near the wing root. Both separations were examined and found to be typical of tension overload. The aileron was in place but displayed damage near the outboard end. The flap was in position and displayed damage. The flap control torque tube on the right side was found in the retracted position. The fuel tank was intact and the fuel petcock was in the locked (closed) position. The landing gear was in place and appeared undamaged.

The horizontal stabilator was in place and secure. Both the stop and hinge bolts were in place and the stabilator was free to move through full travel. The counter weight and tube were in place. Both stabilator control cables were secure to the tube. Cable was found still attached to the balance tube and both 'T' bar attach points. The trim drum showed about 5/8 inch or 3 threads upper extension. The vertical stabilizer was in place and displayed no significant damage. The rudder was secure at all hinge points and free to move through full travel. Stop bolts were in place, undamaged and secure. Both control cables were secure to the attach points and verified to the forward rudder tube attach points.

The fuselage displayed heavy impact to the left front. The engine was pushed aft and upward. The windshield was missing and the cabin door separated. Both cockpit seats were secure on the seat tracks and showed no deformation. Headrests were noted. All front seat belts and attach points were in place and secure. The left side shoulder harness was connected to the seat belt. Rescue personnel reportedly unfastened the pilot's seat belt during extrication. The rear seat was in place and secure. Baggage straps were found in good condition, in place and secure.

The propeller was found attached to the engine with numerous marks noted along the entire leading edge of both blades. Chordwise and diagonal scratches were evident on both sides of the propeller blade. One blade displayed an 'S' bend near mid span. Several attach bolts were still in place and mounting holes showed elongation. Due to witness statements and impact marks on the propeller, an in-depth examination of the engine was not done.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A post mortem examination of the pilot was conducted by the Office of the Medical Examiner, Dekalb County, in Decatur, Georgia. On March 30, 2000, a toxicology examination of the pilot was conducted by the FAA Toxicology Research Laboratory. The examination revealed no evidence of drugs, ethanol, cyanide, or carbon monoxide, in the blood, vitreous or urine.

S76B PILOT STATEMENTS

According to the first pilot, who was acting as the pilot-in-command of the Sikorsky S76B Helicopter, N5QZ, they had made contact with the Dekalb Peachtree tower 9.8 miles to the west/southwest of Peachtree Dekalb Airport at approximately 12:35, asking for permission to land. After having received the ATIS information, the tower issued a request for notification when they were established on a three-mile final to runway 2L, at which time they would be given a sequence to land. After reaching about 3 nautical miles at 2,000 feet AGL, they turned final for 2L, and were given clearance to over-fly the runway and then land at the intersection of taxiways A and J. He said that at the approach end of runway 2L, he cleared the runway visually, and they proceeded down the runway, decelerating from 80 to 60 knots, indicated airspeed. Just before reaching the end of the runway, he said that he heard the controller say "The helicopter was supposed to follow you." Within five seconds, the controller issued instructions to "a helicopter" or aircraft to deviate from their flight path. Since they were in the process of clearing the runway in an air taxi, he did not feel that these instructions were directed towards them. He stated that they continued their approach and because the Beechjet was very close to the intersection of taxiways A and J, he chose to land on the taxiway just south of taxiways A and J, and then ground taxi clear of the parallel taxiway. Prior to clearing the taxiway, he heard the controller say that there had been an accident. Without responding to the tower, we cleared A and J taxiways immediately and positioned themselves on the southern power company's ramp apron to facilitate the fire rescue vehicles. After the fire rescue vehicles passed their location, they continued taxiing to the ramp where the helicopter was shut down and subsequently put into the hangar. At that point in time, they suspected that they had been involved in the incident.

The second pilot stated that they were returning to the Peachtree Dekalb Airport. He said that he was at the controls from the co-pilot's side. He said they made contact with Peachtree Dekalb Airport Tower at approximately 9 to 10 miles from the airport, and the tower instructed them to establish themselves on a three-mile final for runway 2L. He did that and turned final to 2L at about 3 miles out, and started to decelerate the helicopter, and started to configure the helicopter for landing. The tower instructed them to do a low approach over runway 2L, and to land at the intersection of A and J taxiways. He said he made the approach to the runway, descended and continued to decelerate to comply with the tower instructions, and he believed that near the last one-third of the runway, he heard some tower transmissions instructing one aircraft to make an immediate left turn and to have another helicopter do a go-around. He did not recognize the call sign of the aircraft that was told to make the left turn. When he heard the other transmission from the tower for helicopter go-around, he did not know who the tower was referring to. By that time, he was at the end of 2L and was amending his approach slightly to the left to complete the landing at the intersection. The tower declared an emergency and told him to continue to land, and at that time, the first pilot took over the controls and completed the landing. We taxied off the taxiway to a ramp to make room for the fire trucks that were coming towards us.

WITNESS STATEMENTS

There were several eyewitnesses to the accident. Many of which stated that they observed the helicopter pass N8447Y on the right while on short final. The helicopter then proceeded down runway 2L, and come to an abrupt stop at the end or just past the end of the runway in a hover about 50 to 100 above the ground. Those same witnesses said they saw N8447Y, takeoff after landing and at about 50 to 100 feet above the ground they observed the airplanes wings rock from right to left and impact the runway with the left wing tip and cart-wheel, coming to rest in the grass inverted. Several of the witnesses stated that they believed that the pilot of N8447Y was attempting to maneuver around the helicopter. Some of the witnesses stated they believed that the airplane was caught in the helicopters wake turbulence. One witness who was piloting N4943G, a Cessna 172, stated that he was on final approach to runway 2L, following N8447Y, when the accident occurred. He stated that h

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.