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N9862D accident description

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Crash location 41.838889°N, 71.026389°W
Nearest city Berkley, MA
41.833435°N, 71.082822°W
2.9 miles away
Tail number N9862D
Accident date 19 Apr 2004
Aircraft type Piper PA-18-150
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On April 19, 2004, about 1630 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-18-150, N9862D, was substantially damaged when it struck trees while landing at the Myricks Airport (1M8), Berkley, Massachusetts. The certificated commercial pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local banner-tow flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, several witnesses observed the airplane as it was landing. One witness heard the airplane's engine, which was "louder than normal," and looked upward to observed the airplane at a "lower than normal height," approaching the airport. As the airplane neared the runway, it began to descend, and struck a tree.

A second witness also heard the airplane's engine as it approached the airport. When he looked up at the airplane, it appeared faster than normal. As the airplane neared the runway, it struck a tree.

A third witness observed the airplane make a pass over the airport, drop the banner that it was towing, and make an approach to land on runway 27. Everything appeared to be normal as the airplane neared the runway, but suddenly, the nose dropped, and the airplane struck trees.

Examination of the wreckage by the FAA inspector revealed both wings were separated from the fuselage. No abnormalities were noted with the airplane's engine or flight controls. Fuel samples taken from the airplane were absent of debris.

Examination of the accident site by the FAA inspector revealed that the airplane struck a 50-foot high tree located about 445 feet prior to the runway threshold. The airplane also struck power lines, which were located next to a road, perpendicular to the runway. Scars from the propeller and spinner cap were observed on the surface of the road.

The inspector also noted large patches of brown grass and tire marks on the turf runway, about 10 feet beyond the threshold. No markings were observed identifying a displaced threshold. According to an FAA Airport Facilities Directory, runway 27 was a 2,466-foot long, 50-foot wide turf runway. The runway had a 756 foot displaced threshold, marked with lime. The directory also mentioned trees were located at the approach end of the runway.

A local police officer, who arrived at the accident site a few minutes after the occurrence, stated that the wind conditions at that time were steady at 10 mph, gusting to 35 mph.

The winds reported at an airport located about 3 miles north of the accident site, at 1552, were from 200 degrees at 13 knots, gusting to 19 knots. The winds reported at 1652 were from 200 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 20 knots.

The pilot was also the owner and manager of the airport.

Attempts to have the pilot provide the required NTSB form 6120.1/2, Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, were unsuccessful.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's misjudgment of altitude/distance and his failure to maintain adequate clearance from trees while landing. Factors related to the accident were the lack runway displaced threshold markings, the trees located at the end of the runway, and the gusting wind conditions.

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