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N212HB accident description

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Tail numberN212HB
Accident dateAugust 28, 2008
Aircraft typePiper PA-31-350
LocationLas Vegas, NV
Near 36.211389 N, -115.224723 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On August 28, 2008, at 1434 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-31-350, N212HB, experienced a partial loss of engine power during climb a few minutes after departing from the North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), Las Vegas, Nevada. Shortly thereafter, as the airplane was returning to the airport, the airplane collided with several objects and eventually a residence. The accident flight was performed under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The airplane was destroyed by impact with objects and the post-crash fire. The airline transport certificated pilot, who was the sole occupant in the airplane, was killed. Of the five persons who were located at the house, one received minor injuries, and four were not injured. The airplane was operated by Aeronet Supply, an airplane brokerage company based in Gardena, California. The flight originated from VGT's runway 07 about 1422.

According to Aeronet's owner, the recently hired contract pilot was intending to fly the airplane to Palo Alto, California, where the connection of previously installed ferry tanks and avionics would be completed. Thereafter, upon obtaining Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval, the modified airplane was to be flown to Korea at the request of its prospective new owner.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator's review of FAA recorded radar data indicated that after the pilot took off from VGT (elevation 2,205 feet mean sea level), the pilot turned westbound while climbing. About 1427, the airplane was passing abeam and north of VGT, and it was climbing through 3,400 feet, as indicated by its altitude encoding Mode C transponder. About 1429, the airplane was about 5 miles west of VGT and had climbed to 3,900 feet, which was the maximum altitude gained during the accident flight. The airplane lost altitude during its course reversal left turn, and by 1431, the eastbound airplane was descending through 3,200 feet. About 1432, the pilot advised a radar controller at the FAA Las Vegas Approach Control Facility that he was "declaring an emergency" and desired to "immediately" return to runway 07 at VGT. Without delay, the controller cleared the pilot as requested.

The airplane continued tracking toward runway 07, and its last recorded altitude, about 1433:49, indicated the airplane was at 2,400 feet.

The airplane impacted a tree, power lines, an unoccupied automobile, and the side of a house while coming to rest about 1.2 miles west of the runway's landing threshold. The airplane was fragmented during the impact sequence, and thereafter it was destroyed by fire.

Two ground-based witnesses, located about 6 miles west of VGT, called 911 when they observed the airplane flying near their location. The witnesses reported observing fire and white smoke in the vicinity of the airplane's right engine.

The airplane has been recovered from the accident site. An examination of its engine assemblies, propellers, and fuel system is pending.

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