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N6360W accident description

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Tail numberN6360W
Accident dateOctober 08, 1995
Aircraft typePiper PA-28-140
LocationBird-In-Hand, PA
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On October 8, 1995, at 1530 eastern daylight time (EDT), a Piper PA-28-140, N6360W, collided with power lines in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, while on approach to runway 28 at Smoketown Airport, in Smoketown, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot was seriously injured, and the safety pilot was fatally injured. The aircraft sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, no flight plan was filed. The personal flight operated under 14 CFR 91, and originated from Perkiomen Valley Airport in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, at about 1430 EDT. The intended destination was Smoketown, Pennsylvania.

The pilot reported that they flew from Collegeville to Smoketown at 3,000 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL), and changed frequencies to monitor the traffic at Pottstown, Pennsylvania. The pilot stated that at that point, the safety pilot asked him if he wanted "...some hood time." The pilot stated: "It had been several weeks since I had practiced simulated IFR [Instrument Flight Rules] and it seemed like an excellent idea." He reported that he put on his foggles (frosted glasses designed to limit the pilot's view of everything external to the cockpit), and continued the flight at 3,000 feet MSL, on a heading of 268 degrees.

The pilot stated that when they were about 10 miles from Smoketown, he descended to 1600 feet MSL, and changed radio frequency to monitor the traffic in the traffic pattern. He stated that during this period the safety pilot "...offered no comments or correction. I was anticipating his vectoring for crosswind entry to left downwind for the active runway 28. I had practiced straight in approaches...but never an actual pattern approach...I was still above pattern altitude and approaching the traffic area (per GPS)...I began to feel a bit apprehensive."

The pilot stated that during the simulated instrument flight, the safety pilot did not provide any direction or spatial orientation with regard to his location from the runway. The pilot reported that as he was descending to pattern altitude, the safety pilot told him "...turn crosswind." The pilot stated that he complied, and "...prompted [the safety pilot] to let me know when to turn downwind. I continued to descend to pattern altitude. [The safety pilot] said, (paraphrase) 'OK, downwind.' I made the radio announcement, while making a procedure left turn to 100 degrees. I then heard Mooney traffic on the radio on final. [The safety pilot] reiterated, 'Mooney traffic.' I acknowledged. He then mumbled something...I did not understand and I said '28, right...?' No answer...(At this point, I had the desire to remove the foggles and say it isn't working.) I didn't. I had no concept where we were on the downwind leg. I finally said, 'Base...? ...Base?' (Pause) 'Yeah Base.'. I immediately did a procedure turn using the DG. I was about to announce...when [the safety pilot] grabbed the yoke and said, 'I got it!' ...I heard a shrill whine, the plane seemed to stop. I don't know how, but I knew we had struck a cable or wires... ."

The airplane impacted power lines at approximately 75 feet above the ground, about 2.5 miles east of the intended landing runway. Several witnesses observed the airplane flying on an easterly heading, before it made a left turn, and collided with the power lines. One witness stated that the airplane was very low when it was heading east. She stated that the airplane turned to the north initially and then it made a turn to the west before it struck the wires.

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight. According to the Airport Facility Directory there is no published instrument approach for the Smoketown Airport.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with single engine land privileges. According to a pilot/operator report submitted by the pilot, he had accumulated over 650 hours of total flight time, including 450 hours in the accident make and model airplane. He held a third class medical certificate that was issued on April 4, 1994. The medical contained the stated limitation "...must wear corrective lenses... ."

The safety pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with single engine and multiengine land privileges, and an instrument rating. The safety pilot did not possess a valid flight instructor certificate, or a current medical certificate, at the time of the accident. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical records, the safety pilot's most recent medical certificate application/examination indicated that he had 12,878 hours of flight experience. His most recent FAA medical certificate application was dated December 1, 1992.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Piper PA-28-140 airplane, serial no. 28-20418, was equipped with a Lycoming O-320-E3D engine, serial no. L14501-27A. According to the pilot operator's report the airplane had accumulated over 3,300 hours of total flight time. The airplane had accumulated over 50 hours of flight time since the annual inspection that was completed on February 3, 1995.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

The 1545 EDT surface weather observation for the Lancaster Airport, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, (located about 10 miles Northwest of the accident site) reported the following:

Sky condition, a broken cloud layer at 4,900 feet; visibility, 50 miles; temperature, 65 degrees Fahrenheit (F); dew point, 46 degrees F; winds out of 290 degrees at 15 knots; and altimeter setting, 30.04 inches Hg.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane collided with high tension power lines about 75 feet above ground level, approximately 2.5 miles east of the intended landing runway. The wreckage came to rest inverted in a corn field, about 25 feet east of the power lines and power poles it had impacted. The wreckage was oriented on a magnetic heading of 035 degrees.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed a piece of 9 gauge steel wire in the engine compartment. One of the propeller blades was bent aft approximately five degrees, and exhibited a half inch deep gouge in the leading edge, about 10 1/2 inches inboard from the propeller blade tip. The other propeller blade was bent forward approximately 15 degrees, from a point about 9 1/2 inches inboard of the propeller blade tip. The propeller spinner was crushed.

The airplane remained intact. The leading edge of the right wing was crushed aft to the main spar. The crush started at the wing tip and continued for approximately 8 feet inboard. The right main landing gear wheel fairing was broken and separated in several pieces. The underside of the right wing exhibited physical evidence of paint transfer. The right main landing gear was bent aft. The right flap and right aileron were intact. Flight control continuity was established from the right aileron to the cockpit control wheel.

The left wing forward spar attachment point was crushed inboard approximately 3 inches. The aft spar attachment bolt was sheared in half and it was located at the crash site. The left flap attachment arm was bent outboard approximately thirty degrees. The left flap extension when measured corresponded to 10 degrees. Flight control continuity was established from the left aileron to the cockpit control wheel.

The empennage was crushed downward and forward, starting at the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer. The vertical stabilizer was bent forward approximately 15 degrees. The upper 25 inches of the rudder was crushed forward and flattened against the rear vertical stabilizer spar. The upper and lower skin of the stabilator were wrinkled at about a 45 degree angle. There was damage to the trailing edge of the stabilator trim. The elevator trim jackscrew measured 14 threads. According to Piper Aircraft this corresponds to full nose up trim. Flight control continuity was not confirmed to the elevator, nor the rudder, due to impact damage.

The nosegear was bent forward at a 45 degree angle. There were pieces of high tension wire located next to the nosegear.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A Medical Examination was performed on the safety pilot by Dr. Wayne Ross, Pathologist of the Lancaster County Medical Examiner's Office, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on October 9, 1996. Toxicological testing was conducted by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI), in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Negative results were reported for all screened drugs and volatiles.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to John Watson, Agent for AIG Aviation Edison, New Jersey, on October 27, 1995.

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