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N46WD accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location 42.720834°N, 82.595833°W
Nearest city Marine City, MI
42.719478°N, 82.492132°W
5.3 miles away
Tail number N46WD
Accident date 18 Jan 2004
Aircraft type Piper PA-46-350P
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On January 18, 2004, around 1600 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-46-350P, N46WD, impacted a snow bank while landing on runway 04 (3,100 feet by 60 feet, snow and ice covered asphalt) at the Marine City Airport (76G), Marine City, Michigan. The private pilot was not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The 14 CFR Part 91 local flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The flight originated from 76G about 1540.

The pilot stated that prior to takeoff, as he was nearing the airport fuel pumps, his left main wheel crossed an area of snow ridges standing several inches high. After fueling, he back taxied on runway 22 to the approach end of runway 04 and used the left brake in order to realign with the runway. The pilot reported that he intended to do takeoffs and landings at 76G. On his first landing attempt he decided to fly a low approach over the runway followed by a go-around. The pilot reported no discrepancies with the second approach, and on touchdown the indicated airspeed was about 85 knots with the airplane aligned with the center of the runway. The pilot stated that immediately after touchdown he noticed the airplane was "pulling to the left." The pilot reported that he attempted to correct the left turning tendency with use of right rudder. The airplane continued turning to the left until it impacted the four-foot high snow bank positioned alongside the runway. The airplane impacted the snow bank nose first and then traversed over the snow bank coming to rest in a ditch. The pilot reported that the nose gear collapsed and the propeller struck the terrain resulting in one of the blades separating from the propeller hub assembly.

The airport manager reported at the time of the accident runway 04 had a 1/16 inch layer of ice covered by a 1/2 inch of dry snow. According to the manager, tire tracks showed that the airplane touched down about 150 feet from the runway threshold, continued straight for 200 feet, and then had a curving left sweep into the snow bank.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) performed an on-scene investigation. He reported that the airplane was on jack stands when he arrived at the accident location. The inspector stated that the airplane's wheels moved freely when rotated by hand. He did not find any discrepancies with either brake calipers, and detected no water or foreign objects in the brake lines. The inspector reported that the left brake functioned as designed.

In a post-accident interview with the FAA inspector, the pilot stated that he had taxied his left main gear through snow prior to takeoff. The pilot was asked if he applied full brake pressure prior to the takeoff roll; the pilot responded that he had not.

A weather observation station located at Selfridge Air National Guard Base (MTC), approximately 12 nautical miles southeast of 76G, recorded the winds at 1555 as: 290 degrees at 13 knots.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control of the airplane during landing. Factors associated with the accident were the icy snow covered runway, the tailwind conditions, the snowbank, and the ditch which the airplane contacted.

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