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N8810P accident description

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Tail numberN8810P
Accident dateFebruary 15, 2009
Aircraft typePiper PA-24-260
LocationHagerman, ID
Near 42.819723 N, -115.104722 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On February 15, 2009, about 2045 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-24-260, N8810P, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following an in-flight breakup near Hagerman, Idaho. The student pilot, who was the sole occupant, was killed. Visual meteorological conditions (VFR) prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The personal cross-country flight was operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The flight departed the Caldwell Industrial Airport (EUL), Caldwell, Idaho, about 1900, and was destined for the Bountiful Skypark Airport, Bountiful, Utah.

The 70-hour student pilot departed on the 315 mile cross-country flight in dark night conditions in a complex airplane that he had purchased about 3 hours prior to the accident. A second pilot, who had flown the student pilot from BTF to EUL to pick up the newly purchased airplane stated in a telephone interview with the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), that during the return flight to BTF as a flight of 2, the student pilot had radioed him about the cabin door not being sealed, and that he might have to land to fix it. However, in a subsequent air-to-air communication with the second pilot, the student pilot reported that the problem had been resolved and that he was continuing by "...following highway 84 to Salt Lake City." The second pilot also revealed to the IIC that during the flight, the student pilot "...didn't seem to know where he was at times." After arriving at BTF the second pilot observed that the student pilot had not arrived. He attempted to contact the student pilot on his cell phone but was unsuccessful. The following morning the second pilot backtracked the route by flying to the departure airport, EUL, as well as checking various airports along the route, but was unable to locate the pilot or the airplane.

At about 1000, on the morning of February 17th, local search and rescue personnel located the airplane about 11 nautical miles west of Hagerman, Idaho. The airplane had impacted open range ground in a wings level, nose low, inverted attitude. There was no postcrash fire.

An initial assessment of the accident site by the IIC and representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Piper Aircraft, and Lycoming Engines, revealed that the airplane had experienced an in-flight breakup. Both outboard sections of each wing, both outboard sections of each horizontal stabilator, and the airplane's empennage was located in a debris field, which extended over an area of about 1 mile prior to the main impact point. The cabin door was located at the main wreckage site and had remained attached to the fuselage.

The wreckage was recovered from the accident site to a secured facility for further examination.

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