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N82824 accident description

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Tail numberN82824
Accident dateMay 23, 1998
Aircraft typePiper PA-28RT-201
LocationLincoln, MA
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 23, 1998, at 1538 Eastern Daylight Time, a Piper PA-28RT-201 Arrow, N82824, was destroyed while maneuvering in the landing pattern at Laurence G. Hanscom Field (BED), Bedford, Massachusetts. The certificated private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. A visual flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight between Wood County Airport (PKB), Parkersburg, West Virginia, and Hanscom Field. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector, the pilot did not communicate with any air traffic control facilities until he reached the Boston area. A computer based flight plan, submitted by the pilot through the Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS), indicated he had planned to depart Parkersburg at 1100, with an en route time of 4 1/2 hours.

Hanscom Tower audio tapes revealed that the pilot approached the airport from the southwest and requested landing on Runway 29. At 1536:22, the tower controller advised: "Looks like you're lined up for a straight-in for Runway Five. If you'd like Runway Five, that is approved. Wind currently three six zero at eighteen." The pilot asked: "I'm lined up on Runway Five?" The controller responded that the airplane was on a mile final for Runway 5. The pilot said: "I'd like to go on two-nine. I have quite a crosswind here." At 1536:44, the controller responded with: "O.K., then. Turn left, enter the downwind for Runway Two-Nine. I'm sorry. Turn right,...left downwind for Runway Two-Nine, Runway Two-Nine. Cleared to land." The pilot responded: "Two eight two eight four turning right for a left downwind, Runway Two-Nine." There were no further transmissions from the pilot.

In an interview with the FAA Inspector, one witness stated that she saw the airplane come from the west, and bank sharply to the right, at a 45 degree angle, just above the trees. "It did not sound like there was any engine trouble." The witness further stated that it looked like the plane "was trying to nose up - it did not look like a plane crashing." Another witness stated that he heard the airplane "flying towards me at a low altitude. I tried to observe the aircraft through the surrounding trees, but could not." He further stated: "There was no change in RPM at any time or indication of engine trouble, just a normal sound of an aircraft in a landing pattern." A third witness stated that she heard the airplane and remembered thinking: "very loud and very low....I can only guess that I heard the engine revving very high and then it went silent. I did not hear a sputter or an explosion of any sort."

PILOT INFORMATION

A review of the pilot's logbook showed a total of 76 hours of flight time, and 5 hours in the accident airplane prior to the accident flight. The pilot received his private pilot certificate on March 15, 1998.

The pilot obtained a Third Class medical certificate on May 30, 1997, with a limitation to wear corrective lenses.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The airplane was corporate owned, and rented by the pilot.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was found in a densely wooded swamp in the Minuteman National Park, about 3,800 feet south of the approach end of Runway 5. The wreckage path was oriented along a 180 degree magnetic heading. Trees exhibited broken branches on a 48 degree descending path. The outboard section of the right wing was located about 25 feet from the initial tree strike, while the vertical tail section was about 58 feet from it. The inboard section of the right wing was located about 86 feet from the initial tree strike, while the center of the left wing was about 101 feet from it. The fuselage was upside down, with the still-attached propeller spinner 117 feet from the initial tree strike.

Engine examination confirmed drive train continuity and cylinder compression. The magnetos produced spark. Spark plugs varied in color from gray to black. Fuel was found in the right wing; the left wing tank was ruptured. Fuel was also found in fuel lines, the fuel injector, the engine driven fuel pump and the fuel filter. The engine driven fuel pump operated when activated by hand. Flight control continuity could not be established due to impact damage. Control cable breaks were found with ends appearing similar to tension overload failures. The landing gear were observed down and flaps were extended 10 degrees. The throttle and mixture controls were found in the mid-range position, and the propeller was full increase. Propeller blades were wavy in appearance, and exhibited chordwise rotational scoring marks.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A special surface weather observation was taken immediately after the accident by Hanscom Tower personnel. The sky was clear, with wind from 250 degrees magnetic at 18 knots, temperature 25 degrees Celsius, dewpoint 10 degrees Celsius, altimeter 29.70. Another observation, taken about 8 minutes later, revealed winds from 310 degrees magnetic, at 12 knots, gusting to 20.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

On May 24, 1998, an autopsy was performed on the pilot and the passenger by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Boston, Massachusetts.

Toxicological testing was performed on the pilot by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Tests were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and drugs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to a representative from White's Garage, Inc., Waltham, Massachusetts, on May 25, 1998. It was subsequently turned over to Ryan Insurance Services, Inc., Biddeford, Maine.

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