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N4362A accident description

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Tail numberN4362A
Accident dateAugust 23, 2001
Aircraft typePiper PA-46-310P
LocationBulverde, TX
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On August 23, 2001, approximately 1641 central daylight time, a Piper PA-46-310P single-engine airplane, N4362A, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during the initial takeoff climb from the Kestrel Airpark Airport, Bulverde, Texas. The airplane was registered to Klinck Store No 3, Inc., of McAllen, Texas, and operated by two private individuals who were the co-owners and pilots. The private pilot sustained serious injuries and his pilot-rated passenger, who co-owned the airplane, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight. The personal flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to witnesses, prior to departure the airplane was fueled from a self-serve fuel pump with 63 gallons of fuel. The 3,100-hour pilot initiated the takeoff roll from runway 30. The airplane was observed to utilize the entire length of the runway during the takeoff roll. The airplane became airborne and attained a height approximately 100 feet agl before it entered a descent and impacted the ground. A fire erupted and both occupants were extracted from the airplane by local residents. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety in New Braunfels, Texas, prior to being transported to the hospital, the pilot reported that "he was leaving the airstrip and the plane stalled due to lack of airspeed." The fire consumed the entire airplane, except for the engine and propeller. On August 31, 2001, the passenger succumbed to his injuries. As of the date of this report, the pilot was undergoing rehabilitative treatment for his injuries and was not available for an interview.

FAA inspectors examined the airplane and the accident site. They reported that the 3,000-foot runway contained an upward slope, and that the departure end of runway 30 was 50 feet higher than the approach end. According to airport information, runway 30 "rises rapidly at the north end." The FAA inspectors also stated that the airplane's energy path was approximately 1/3 mile long, along which they located damaged trees with "well-defined cuts that a propeller under power would have made." The propeller blades were bent toward the cambered side and one blade exhibited an "S" type bend. The entire fuselage, from the cockpit aft to the vertical stabilizer, was consumed by the fire. The airplane's maintenance records were not located during the investigation.

At 1653, the weather observation facility at the San Antonio International Airport, San Antonio, Texas, (located 20 miles south of the accident site) reported a few clouds at 9,000 feet, scattered clouds at 25,000 feet, visibility 10 miles, temperature 99 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 61 degrees Fahrenheit, wind from 130 degrees at 10 knots, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of mercury. The density altitude was calculated to be 4,136 feet.

On September 6, 2001, the Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) TSIO-550-C engine was examined under supervision of the NTSB Investigator-In-Charge. The engine was intact, displayed no signs of catastrophic failure, and all of the accessories were attached; however, it did display fire damage. The top spark plugs and oil pump cover were removed and the crankshaft was rotated by hand. Crankshaft continuity was confirmed from the propeller to each of the cylinders and to the accessory drive gears. A thumb compression check was performed and according to the TCM representative, "good hand compression was confirmed on all cylinders." The left magneto produced a spark at each terminal when its drive was rotated, and the right magneto sparked at 4 terminals when its drive was rotated. The right magneto was disassembled and its distributor was partially melted. The fuel pump, fuel manifold, fuel control unit, and oil filter were disassembled and examined. The components did not display any anomalies that could not be attributed to the post accident fire. The left and right turbochargers were disassembled and examined. Rotational scoring was observed on both turbocharger compressor shrouds.

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