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N27AP accident description

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Tail numberN27AP
Accident dateJuly 21, 2001
Aircraft typePiper PA-32-260
LocationChenoa, IL
Near 40.715556 N, -88.763889 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 21, 2001, about 1605 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32-260, N27AP, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage on impact with terrain following an in-flight loss of engine power during initial climbout from the southbound runway at Thacker Airport (11LL), near Chenoa, Illinois. The business flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The flight was originating from 11LL at the time of the accident and was destined for Wittman Regional Airport, near Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

A witness stated, "Took of[f] to south. Normal acceleration. ... In left turn sounded like engine lost power. (no backfire)"

Another witness stated, "Looked north when t[he] plane engine cut out. Plane low, heading south east, turning easterly w[ith] slight climb or level flying. I wondered if taking off or doing a flyover [of the airport owner's] house. But if taking off, much further north than usual, and lower too. I listened to hear for engine life but did not. But also didn't hear crash."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land rating issued on April 4, 1970. The pilot held a third class medical certificate with limitations, "Holder must possess corrective lenses while exercising his airmans privileges", dated May 4, 2000. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aeromedical records, the pilot reported having 6,000 total flying hours at that physical examination. The pilot also reported having flown 150 hours in the six months prior to the examination.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane, N27AP, was a Piper PA-32-260, Cherokee Six, serial number 32-7300013, single-engine, low-wing airplane. Its engine was a 260 horsepower Lycoming O-540-E4B5 engine, serial number L-15193-40. Its propeller was a constant speed, two-bladed, Hartzell HC-C2YK-1BF, with propeller serial number CH11498 and hub serial number P36349. The propeller was manufactured November 30, 1972 with F8477-2 blades with serial numbers C4561 and C4540. The airplane contained a replacement airworthiness certificate dated November 28, 1972 and a registration certificate dated January 24, 1987. A review of the aircraft logbooks revealed a 100-hour and annual inspection was completed on July 12, 2001. The airframe logbook entry on that date indicated that the airplane had accumulated 3,907 hours of service and its tachometer read 3,907. The engine logbook entry for that date revealed that the engine had accumulated 1,917.75 hours since overhaul.

Fuel receipts showed the airplane was fueled with 58.3 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel on July 20, 2001 at Fort Wayne, Indiana.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1555, the Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal Airport, near Bloomington, Illinois, weather was: Wind 190 degrees at 07 knots; visibility 5 statute miles; present weather haze; sky condition scattered 2,000 feet broken 2,500; temperature 31 degrees C; dew point 24 degrees C; altimeter 29.92 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

An on-scene investigation was performed. The airplane came to rest in a bean field south and east of 11LL at latitude 40 degrees 42.961' N and longitude 88 degrees 45.844' W. The airplane was found with its left wing detached. The left wing was resting on the ground next to the fuselage. Its landing gear was found detached from the wing. The left tip tank was found detached and crushed. Its aileron cable was found with a separation and that separation was broom straw shaped. The fuselage displayed an inward crush below the pilot's window. The cowling was found canted to the right as viewed from the cockpit. The propeller was found attached to the engine. A propeller blade marked as A blade was found impacted in soil. That blade exhibited an aft bend of about 45 degrees from a point outboard about two thirds of its span. The other blade marked as B blade was found with a curving bend rearward. The radius of the that blade's bend approximated the cowling's shape. The right wing was found attached to the fuselage. The right landing gear was found detached from the wing. The right tip tank was found retained on its lower side by screws to the wing. That tip tank exhibited tears on its upper surface in the edge area where it mates to the right wing and is secured there by screws. The vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, and rudder were found intact.

Flight control continuity was established. Control continuity was established to the engine. The fuel selector was found cracked and indicating a position between left and right tanks. The fuel selector valve was disassembled and its internal valve components were found positioned between tanks. The carburetor was found separated from its flanges and detached from the engine. Fuel was found in the right tip tank, in the fuel selector valve, in the fuel line to the engine driven fuel pump, in the engine driven fuel pump, and in the carburetor's accelerator pump cylinder. The electric fuel pump was observed pumping a liquid when electric power was applied. The engine driven fuel pump was disassembled and no anomalies were exhibited. A thumb compression was produced at all engine cylinders. Removed spark plugs exhibited a gray color. The left magneto produced sparks at all leads when rotated by hand. The base of the right magneto and its mounting surfaces were scribed with line. The right magneto was removed and was spun with the aid of a drill. The right magneto produced sparks at all leads. The tachometer read 3914.59 hours on-scene. (See appended photographs.)

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the McLean County Coroner's Office.

The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report. The report was negative.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The engine was shipped to Mattituck Aviation Corp. for a test run on December 5, 2001. The right magneto was reinstalled noting the scribed line made during the field examination. The magneto's cap lead ends were repaired. The carburetor's flanges were reattached to the original carburetor with a bonding material. A test propeller was mounted to the engine. A substitute carburetor was mounted to the engine. The engine initially ran for about 30 seconds and stopped. The fuel pump was reassembled in the field with the valves 180 degrees from the correct position. The pump's inlet and outlet hoses were swapped. The engine ran and produced full rated power with the substitute carburetor. The original carburetor was mounted to the engine 180 degrees out of its original position due to the flange damage and damaged mounting stud. A floor jack helped support the original carburetor in place. The engine was run up to full power with the original carburetor and no anomalies were noted.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Observations of surrounding farmland revealed suitable landing areas for a forced landing.

The parties to the investigation included the FAA, Textron Lycoming, Teledyne Continental Motors, and The New Piper Aircraft, Inc.

The aircraft wreckage was released to a representative of the insurance company.

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