Plane crash map Find crash sites, wreckage and more

N246MA accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Drummond Island, MI
45.997600°N, 83.732500°W
Tail number N246MA
Accident date 07 Jun 1999
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-151
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On June 7, 1999 at 1615 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-151, N246MA, piloted by a commercial pilot was destroyed on impact with trees and terrain during an initial climb from runway 26 (4,000 feet by 75 feet, dry asphalt) at Drummond Island Airport (Y66), Drummond Island, Michigan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot and both passengers were fatally injured. The personal flight was originating to the Chippewa County International Airport (CIU), Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, at the time of the accident.

A witness, who was walking to her home, reported that she saw a small airplane just above the trees in a shallow left bank and gradually descending. She stated that she does not remember any unusual engine noise or seeing any smoke. She also reported that is was quite windy and gusty.

A second witness stated that the aircraft was approximately 200 yards down the runway and had not lifted off. He also stated that the winds were well over 20 knots and gusting; he added that they were "quite gusty".

A third witness stated that he was playing the 3rd hole of the golf course at the airport. He saw the airplane perform a 15-20 second runup and stated that it didn't have a "right" sound, but you could tell it was making horsepower. He did not hear any change in rpm noise during the aircraft's runup, but he added that he was not focusing on it. He added that the airplane began its takeoff behind the station and he never saw the airplane lift off. He reported that the ground speed wasn't there. The airplane's nose wheel was still on the runway approximately 800 - 1,000 feet down the runway and between the 3rd and 4th holes by the cart pathway. He did not see any smoke.


The pilot was 45 years old and the holder of an airline transport pilot with an airplane multiengine land rating and a Lear Jet type rating. He also held a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating in addition to a certified flight instructor rating with airplane single, airplane multiengine, and instrument airplane. He received a first class medical certificate with a restriction for near vision on May 12, 1999. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicate that the pilot had accumulated a total flight time of 9,400 hours. He received an airman competency/flight check on February 25, 1999 in a Cessna 310 which included a flight time of 1.0 hours.

His pilot and duty time records for the June 1999, show that the last entry made was on June 5, 1999. The pilot was on duty from 0930 - 2015 for two flights conducted under Federal Aviation Regulation 91 and 135 with a total flight time of 2.9 hours.


The airplane received an annual inspection on December 28, 1998 at an airframe time of 3,080 hours. The accident airplane's weight, as of March 3, 1976, indicates that the empty weight of the airplane was 1,448.80 lbs with an arm of 87.10 inches. Its useful load was listed as 876.20 lbs.


The CIU automatic weather surface observing system, located approximately 275 magnetic degrees and 35 nmi from Y66, reported at 1615: wind 230 at 13 knots gusting to 23 knots from 190 degrees variable 250 degrees; visibility of 10 smi; few clouds 3,200 feet above the ground and a scattered layer at 3,900 feet above the ground; a temperature and a dewpoint of 77 degrees F and 63 degrees F, respectively; an altimeter setting of 29.81 inches of mercury.

The CIU automatic weather surface observing system, reported at 1635: wind 230 at 10 knots gusting to 21 knots from 180 degrees variable 250 degrees; visibility of 10 smi; few clouds at 3,400 feet above the ground; a temperature and dewpoint of 77 degrees F and 63 degrees F, respectively; an altimeter setting of 29.81 inches of mercury.


The main wreckage was located approximately 1,254 feet heading 268 degrees from the departure end of runway 26. The trees surrounding the main wreckage were black and absent of leaves. There were trees approximately 20 feet to the north of the main wreckage which had leaves that were brown in color. The airplanes rotating beacon and left main landing gear were found approximately 100-133 feet north of the main wreckage and within the wooded area. Trees located approximately 133 feet from the main wreckage were broken. The fuselage was destroyed by fire. Twenty four golf clubs were found within the main wreckage. A law enforcement officer stated that the wooded area consisted of birch, maple and spruce trees which were approximately 60 feet in height.

The engine was rotated and a thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders. The engine oil filter and sump screens were free of metallic debris. Engine continuity was established.

Aileron, rudder and elevator flight control continuity was established. The stabilator trim drum was extended 2 inches which equates to a 50% nose down trim. The trailing edge flap horn was displaced approximately 4-1/2 inches which equates a flap extension of 10 degrees. The area surrounding the flap extension torque tube was consumed by fire.


An autopsy was performed at the General Hospital at Sault Ste, Marie, Ontario.

FAA toxicological test result were negative for all substances tested.


The PA-28-151 pilot's operating manual depicts takeoff performance at gross weight on a level dry runway with no wind at full power before brake release. At a density altitude of 2,000 feet, the ground roll distance without the use of flaps is approximately 1,300 feet with a 65 mph rotation speed; at a rotation speed of 72 mph, the ground roll distance is 2,200 feet. The takeoff distance over a 50 foot obstacle without the use of flaps is approximately 2,700 feet with an airspeed of 72 mph through 50 feet.

Advisory Circular 61-21A, Flight Training Handbook, states the following under Takeoff Performance: "The effect of wind on takeoff distance is large, and proper consideration also must be provided when predicting takeoff distance. The effect of a headwind is to allow the airplane to reach the lift-off speed at a lower groundspeed while the effect of a tailwind is to require the airplane to achieve a greater groundspeed to attain lift-off speed. A headwind which is 10 percent of the takeoff airspeed will reduce the takeoff distance approximately 19 percent (Fig. 17-63). However, a tailwind which is 10 percent of the takeoff airspeed will increase the takeoff distance approximately 21 percent. In the case where the headwind speed is 50 percent of the takeoff speed, the takeoff distance would be approximately 25 percent of the zero wind takeoff distance (75 percent reduction)."

FAA-P-8740-1, Flight Sense, states under Runway Lengths, "Required runway and takeoff my vary considerably with changes in field elevation, aircraft load, and runway surface. To avoid running out of runway during the takeoff or landing; consult your aircraft owner's manual for the distances required to make a normal takeoff and normal landing; consider your aircraft weight; field elevation and temperature; then add your own factor of safety of at least 25%..."

Figure 17-61 depicts the effect of wind on takeoff and landing. At a tailwind which is 30 percent of the takeoff speed, the percent in takeoff distance is approximately 68 percent.

NTSB Probable Cause

the altitude/clearance not obtained/maintained and the inadequate planning/decision by the pilot-in-command. The exceeded aircraft performance was an additional cause. The unfavorable wind and trees were contributing factors.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.