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N43631 accident description

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Tail numberN43631
Accident dateJanuary 03, 2009
Aircraft typePiper PA-28-151
LocationPowder Springs, TN
Near 36.216389 N, -83.685833 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On January 3, 2009, at about 1215 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-151, N43631, was substantially damaged during impact with terrain, near Powder Springs, Tennessee. The certificated private pilot and the sole passenger were killed. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport (GKT), Sevierville, Tennessee, and was destined for Warsaw Municipal Airport (ASW), Warsaw, Indiana. No flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a witness who was outside of his house, the "weather was overcast," and he could not see the tops of the mountains. He heard an airplane traveling in a northerly direction, and heard the engine, "cutout, two to three times" prior to hearing the airplane "crash" into trees, and the engine "stop." He advised that he distinctly heard the trees "felled." He told his wife about what he heard and then called "911."

He estimated that the ceiling at the time was 1,700 to 1,800 feet above sea level (msl), about 100 to 200 feet below the tops of the mountains.

Examination of the accident site and wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the airplane had struck trees near the top of a mountain. The wings had separated from the fuselage, and the fuselage had come to rest downhill from the initial impact point.

Preliminary information provided by Lockheed Martin Flight Service revealed that, the pilot did receive a pre-flight weather briefing for the flight from GKT to ASW. Review of the recorded briefing revealed that the pilot did not file a flight plan. In addition no evidence was identified that indicated the pilot had contact air traffic control during the flight.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and did not possess an instrument rating. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on June 26, 2007. He reported 116 total hours of flight experience on that date.

The airplane was lent to the pilot by a friend. According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1974. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on February 1, 2008. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued 5,017 total hours of operation.

The reported weather at McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS), Knoxville, Tennessee, approximately 21 nautical miles southwest of the accident site, at 1153, included: wind 010 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 3 miles in mist, overcast at 1,200 feet, temperature 7 degrees Celsius, dew point 6 degrees Celsius and an altimeter setting of 30.07 inches of mercury.

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