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N7460Y accident description

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Tail numberN7460Y
Accident dateMay 23, 2004
Aircraft typePiper PA-30
LocationEvanston, WY
Near 41.2825 N, -111.017223 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 23, 2004, at approximately 2113 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-30, N7460Y, piloted by an airline transport pilot, was destroyed when it impacted terrain during the VOR DME approach, runway 23, into Uinta County-Burns Field Airport (EVW), Evanston, Wyoming. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. The personal flight was being conducted on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91. The pilot, his passenger, and pet dog were fatally injured. The cross-country flight originated at Panaca, Nevada, at approximately 1930.

According to a transcript provided by Salt Lake City Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), at 2047 the pilot requested a pop-up IFR clearance from Heber City, Utah, to Evanston, Wyoming. At 2101, N7460Y was cleared for the VOR DME runway 23 approach into EVW. The pilot acknowledged his clearance and no further communications were received by ARTCC.

According to ARTCC radar, at 2112, the airplane's last position was 1 3/4 miles west of EVW at 7,700 feet msl. The IFR flight plan was not closed and further communications were not established with the pilot. At approximately 2120, ARTCC contacted the airport and initiated a search for the airplane. At 2340, airport personnel located the airplane approximately 150 yards northeast of runway 23.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 65, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land rating, and type ratings in the Airbus A-310 and Boeing 727, 747, 757, and 767, and commercial privileges in airplane single-engine land. He also held a flight engineer certificate with a turbojet-powered rating, a flight navigator certificate, and a ground instructor certificate with advanced and instrument ratings. His second-class airman medical certificate, dated September 17, 2003, contained the following limitation: "Must wear corrective lenses."

The pilot was a retired captain for Pan American Airways and Delta Air Lines. He was currently chief pilot for Star West Aviation of Evanston. According to his employment application, he listed his total flight time as 26,000 hours. A logbook found in the wreckage itemized his general aviation experience. According to the logbook, he had logged 902.3 hours, and no less than 12.8 hours in the Piper PA-30. His most recent FAR 135.297 checkride was satisfactorily completed on November 13, 2003.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane, a red and white Piper PA-30 (serial number 30-523), was manufactured in 1964. The airplane was owned by the pilot and used for personal flights. The airplane's most recent registration was dated July 21, 1998.

The airplane had a 100-hour inspection performed on April 12, 2004, and an annual inspection on April 5, 2004. The total airframe time recorded was 8,749 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1858, the pilot contacted Reno flight service station for a weather briefing for his flight from southern Nevada to EVW. According to the transcript of this conversation, the destination was forecast for "mountains occasionally obscured in clouds, in precipitation and mist." There was no terminal forecast for EVW; however, the pilot requested the terminal forecast for Rock Springs, Wyoming (90 nautical miles northeast of EVW). It was "wind two niner zero [degrees] at one four with gusts to two two, [visibility] more than six miles, showers in the vicinity."

According to the Evanston Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) recorded at 2053, the weather was reported as follows: winds 200 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 1 statute mile, light snow, mist; sky condition scattered 200 feet agl, overcast 600 feet agl; temperature 0 degrees Celsius (C), dewpoint 0 degrees C; altimeter 29.96 inches.

Weather radar indicated an area of freezing precipitation in the Evanston area at the time of the accident.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The National Transportation Safety Board's on scene investigation began on May 24, 2004.

The accident site was located in hilly, uneven terrain, approximately 450 feet northeast of the approach end of runway 23 at 41 degrees 16.945 minutes north latitude and 111 degrees 01.034 minutes west longitude. The accident site elevation was 7,118 feet msl.

The initial impact point was located at 41 degrees 16.970 minutes north latitude and 111 degrees 00.977 minutes west longitude and an elevation of 7,106 feet msl. The impact heading was calculated to be 235 degrees. This point was defined by several ground scars consistent with the impact from the two main landing gear and nose gear. The terrain sloped up at 17 degrees for approximately 150 feet.

The debris field extended from the initial impact point, westward for approximately 370 feet. Within the debris field were the left propeller, left main landing gear, right propeller, various cockpit items, windscreen fragments, various engine components, the right main landing gear, and the left front seat.

Approximately 316 feet from the initial ground scar was a second ground scar. Within this ground scar was the lens from the right wing tip.

Between this second ground scar and the main wreckage was a 9-foot tall wire fence that extended around the perimeter of the airport. There were red and white paint transfer marks on the post, approximately 31 and 40 inches from the bottom of the post. Approximately 55 inches inboard from the left wing tip was an impact crush that was consistent with the shape of the fence post.

The airplane's main wreckage was located approximately 375 feet from the initial impact point. The main wreckage included the right and left engines, right and left wings, the fuselage, the main cabin, instrument panel and empennage. The main wreckage was inverted, oriented on a heading of 005 degrees. The left front seat was located approximately 10 feet from the main wreckage.

The outboard 6 feet of the right wing and right aileron had separated from the right wing and was located approximately 5 feet from the main wreckage. The right wing and right engine assembly had folded over onto the belly and the right engine was resting on top of the left wing.

In addition to the leading edge crush on the left wing, the left aileron was bent and the left engine cowling was crushed. The leading edge of the wing showed longitudinal running particle streaks characteristic of structural icing.

The stabilator and vertical stabilizer leading edges showed longitudinal running particle streaks characteristic of structural icing. The rotating beacon on the vertical stabilizer was bent to the right and the leading edge was wrinkled.

An examination of the engines and the engine components showed no anomalies.

The airplane's flight instruments showed the following indications: Kollsman window: 29.93 inches Airspeed indicator: zero Turn Coordinator: left standard rate turn, ball full left Wing flap: up Heading indicator: 246 degrees Vertical speed indicator: 500 feet per minute climb

The airplane's navigation instruments showed the following indications: #2 NAV (VOR): 224 degrees #1 NAV (HIS): 215 degrees Heading bug for #1 NAV: 246 degrees

The airplane's engine instruments showed the following indications: Right Tachometer: 0 RPM Left Tachometer: 0 RPM Right TACH time: 1940.74 hours Left TACH time: 4870.26 hours Right fuel tank: slightly below 1/4 full Left fuel tank: slightly below 1/2 full Oil pressure: zero Oil temperature: zero Gyro Suction: zero Amperes: zero

The airplane's cockpit controls were found in the following positions: Landing gear lever: down Flap lever: down

The airplane's engine controls were found in the following positions: Right engine magneto bank: on Left engine magneto bank: on Right engine alternate air: on Left engine alternate air: off Right engine fuel pump: on Left engine fuel pump: off Pitot heat: on Left and Right generator: off Mixture controls: full forward Throttle controls: one inch aft of full forward

THE KNS 80 Navigation System was retained for further examination. On June 15, 2004, power was added to the unit and when turned on, it was set on the #4 frequency in the VOR mode. The following frequencies had been programmed into the unit: #1 - 116.30 #2 - 110.00 #3 - 116.30 #4 - 110.00 (The EVW VOR frequency is 110.00)

On July 7, 2004, the unit was taken to Honeywell in Olathe, Kansas, for further testing. The sensitivity of the unit on all bearings was within tolerances.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The autopsy was performed by the Uinta County Coroner's office on May 24, 2004. There was no evidence of physical incapacitation or impairment that would have been causal to the accident.

The toxicology was performed by the Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI Reference #200400108001). The toxicology revealed cimetidine present in the blood and urine. All other tests conducted were negative.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The altimeter was retained for further examination. On June 15, 2004, the altimeter was examined but due to the internal damage, it was not tested. The encoder was bench tested to an altitude of 22,000 feet and found to be within tolerances.

ADDITIONAL DATA

Parties to the investigation include the Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards Field Office in Casper, Wyoming, Lycoming Engines, and The New Piper Aircraft Company.

The airplane wreckage was released to a representative of the insurance company on July 26, 2004.

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