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N952JW accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Petoskey, MI
45.373343°N, 84.955330°W
Tail number N952JW
Accident date 23 Sep 2001
Aircraft type Piper PA-34-200T
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On September 23, 2001, at 1438 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-34-200T, N952JW, piloted by a commercial pilot was substantially damaged when the airplane impacted rocks and nosed over while performing a forced landing onto a shoreline at Petoskey, Michigan. Prior to the accident the airplane had lost power in both engines. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted on an instrument flight rules plan under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The pilot and 1 of the 6 passengers on board the airplane sustained minor injuries. The remaining 5 passengers reported no injuries. The cross-country flight originated at Mackinac Island, Michigan, and was en route to Pellston, Michigan.

In his statement, the pilot said that the previous evening they had flown from Pontiac, Michigan, to Mackinac Island. He said that he figured the people, baggage, and fuel for the trip and determined that there would be enough fuel to fly from Pontiac to Mackinac Island, and then from Mackinac Island to Pellston, Michigan. The pilot said he planned to refuel at Pellston because they don't sell fuel at the Mackinac Island Airport. He said that when he taxied out for departure from Mackinac Island, he had 12 gallons of fuel in each tank. He said that Pellston was 10 minutes away. The pilot said the clearance given him was after takeoff to fly a 090 degree heading, climb and maintain 3,000 feet mean sea level (msl) and contact Minneapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). The pilot said that ARTCC instructed him to fly direct to the outer marker for the ILS approach. He said he was cleared for the approach. The pilot said that the directions he was given resulted in him flying a 90-degree intercept to the localizer. He said he went through the localizer course. The pilot told the ARTCC controller what happened and that he had low fuel. He said the controller told him to do a left turn and climb to 6,000 feet msl to intercept the glide slope. The pilot said, "I recalled asking her are you sure [about] 6,000 feet?" He said he wound up established on the localizer, 2 miles from the outer marker for the approach, at 6,000 feet msl. The published altitude to cross the outer maker was 2,400 feet msl. The pilot said he lowered the landing gear and reduced the power to idle. He said as he approached the outer marker the glide slope was coming in. The pilot said it wasn't right and broke off the approach at 1,200 feet msl. As he performed the missed approach, the pilot said he asked ARTCC if other pilots were having trouble getting into Pellston on the ILS? The ARTCC controller said everyone else was missing there. The pilot asked where everyone was going? The ARTCC controller said Charlevoix [Municipal Airport, Charlevoix, Michigan]. The pilot said he couldn't find the airport on the map. The pilot said at this point he had to stop and catch his breath. He then told the controller he was "not reporting Charlevoix". The controller then told him to proceed to Harbor Springs [Municipal Airport, Harbor Springs, Michigan]. They have an RNAV. The pilot said he had RNAV equipment, but I couldn't program it in. He said that ARTCC sent him to Charlevoix, back to Pellston, then to Harbor Springs. He said that at this point, he was very low on fuel. Then the right engine failed. The pilot told ARTCC "get me down now". He said at this time ARTCC switched controllers. The pilot said the new controller came on and said he would give him vectors to Harbor Springs (D87). The controller told the pilot that he was over Harbor Springs. The pilot said, "I wasn't over D87. I was over Petoskey." The pilot said the airplane came through the clouds. He was 300 to 400 feet above the water. He said he could see the shoreline to his left. The pilot said he made a 30-degree turn toward the shore. He said he put down the landing gear and put the airplane down in the shallow water. The pilot said he was unaware of how much time elapsed during the flight. "I don't know if it was 10 minutes or an hour and a half." The pilot said he lost the right engine approximately 4 to 6 minutes before losing the left engine. He said he recalled telling ARTCC, "My right engine just went out, I'm single engine."

At 1354, the Automated Surface Observing System observation for Pellston, Michigan, was ceilings 800 broken, 1,500 overcast, visibility 2-1/2 statute miles with moderate rain, temperature 55 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 53 degrees F, winds 030 degrees at 14 knots, and altimeter 29.93 inches of Mercury.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the airplane at the accident site. The airplane was found resting inverted on the rocks of the shoreline approximately 20 yards north of U. S. Highway 31 at Petoskey. The nose of the airplane aft to the forward cabin bulkhead, which included the forward baggage compartment and nose gear, was broken aft. The forward cabin bulkhead was crushed downward and buckled forward. The windscreen was broken out. The top of the airplane at the front of the cabin was crushed downward. The front and bottom of the left engine cowling was broken aft. The left propeller was broken off at the flange. The fuselage aft of the aft baggage compartment was bent downward. The top portion of the vertical stabilizer and rudder were crushed downward. Flight control continuity was confirmed. An examination of the airplane's engines, engines controls, and other systems showed no anomalies.

Minneapolis (ZMP) ARTCC records showed that at 1353, the pilot reported departure from Mackinac Island. The ZMP ARTCC sector 2 controller cleared N952JW direct Pellston (PLN) and requested what approach he was planning. The pilot replied that he would like the ILS approach.

At 1400, the sector 2 controller requested N952JW to report inbound on the localizer. The pilot acknowledged.

At 1407, the pilot reported that he was picking up the localizer. The sector 2 controller cleared N952JW for the ILS approach to PLN and to report inbound on the localizer. The pilot acknowledged.

At 1408, the pilot reported losing the localizer. The controller advised the pilot that he was in radar contact and she could provide vectors for the localizer. The pilot replied that he would like the vectors and advised that he was low on fuel. The controller cleared N952JW to climb and maintain 6,000 feet and to fly a 090-degree heading for the localizer. The pilot acknowledged.

The controller vectored the airplane to intercept the localizer. At 1413, the pilot reported established on the approach. The controller cleared N952JW to advisory frequency. The pilot acknowledged.

At 1416, the pilot reported that they were missed approach. The controller asked the pilot what his intentions were. The pilot replied that he was low on fuel and needed to get down, and requested if there was an airport nearby that had good visibility. The controller provided weather information for several airports and a pilot report for Charlevoix. The pilot replied that he didn't think he had enough fuel to make Charlevoix. The controller asked if the pilot would like to go to D87. The pilot asked about Alpena. The controller replied that Alpena was farther than Charlevoix. The pilot replied that he would like to go to Charlevoix. The controller cleared N952JW to maintain 3,000 feet. The pilot acknowledged.

At 1421, the controller provided a pilot report for Gaylord and asked the pilot if he would like the ILS approach there. The pilot replied affirmative. The controller issued a vector to Gaylord and a clearance to maintain 4,000 feet. The pilot acknowledged.

At 1423, the pilot declared an emergency and reported that he had an engine out. The controller acknowledged and advised the pilot that D87 was 8 miles southeast of his position. The controller asked the pilot if he still wanted to go to Gaylord. The pilot replied, "ah yes get me down." The controller issued the pilot a 175-degree heading and advised him that Pellston was the closest airport with an ILS approach.

At 1428, the controller asked the pilot if he had any approach plates for D87. The pilot replied, "no i do not i can't make it to harbor springs not enough fuel sorry." The controller informed the pilot that D87 was at his 12 o'clock position at 8 miles, that they had a RNAV approach to runway 10, and that they were almost practically set up for it. The pilot requested help with the approach. The controller cleared N952JW to maintain 3,200 feet. The pilot acknowledged and informed the controller he had the approach plate for D87. The controller issued approach information and informed the pilot that the airport was now at his 12 o'clock position and five miles. The pilot acknowledged and then stated, "i'm gonna need help read puttin this in i can't do it and fly the plane." The controller provided information for the approach into D87. The pilot responded, "i don't even know what the frequency is for the radial i need the ah radial frequency right now. too busy flying." The controller responded, "alright november two juliet whiskey i guess you're gonna have to put the airport into the system in order to fly that and if you can't do that we'll have to go to pellston because there is no navaid on that approach plate." The pilot replied, "alright we got in." The controller began giving the pilot additional information when the pilot stated, "it's not in my system i need to go back to pellston."

At 1431, the controller instructed N952JW to turn to a heading of 090 degrees and climb to 4,000 feet. The pilot replied, "unable to climb."

At 1433, the controller said, "november two juliet whiskey i've got a pilot here who can help me read this approach plate now if you want to try to get into harbor springs you're about two miles from the airport ah just west of it." The pilot said, "talk me down."

At 1434, the controller confirmed that N952JW was VOR capable. The pilot replied, "correct." The controller had the pilot tune his VOR frequency for Pellston. The controller verified the airplane's altitude and asked the pilot how much fuel he had remaining. The pilot replied, "ten minutes."

At 1435, the controller advised N952JW that he would set them up for the procedure turn. The pilot replied, just do it quick i maybe have ten minutes. where we going pellston or harbor springs." The controller replied that he was going into D87 and continued to provide radar vectors.

At 1436:06, the controller said, "okay two juliet whiskey i tell you what let's try a climb climb up to four thousand so i can see ya." The pilot replied, "i'd rather not try to climb because i'm running out of fuel so i'll try."

At 1436:26, the pilot said, "just lost my engine." The controller replied, "you just lost your engine okay ah turn back to the left ah you're without any engine now is that correct." The pilot responded, "no engines." The controller continued to give vectors to get the airplane to D87.

At 1437:36, the controller said, nine five juliet whiskey ... we're going to get you down here um are you have you established a glide path down now. The pilot replied, "on a glide scope yup." The controller said, "okay now ah north ah northwest of the airport juliet whiskey is all water so now when you break out if you see all water you want to start a slow slow turn back to the left to look for the airport."

At 1438:18, the pilot said, "i've got ground i'm looking for the airport i do not see it." The controller said, "okay you see land or water." The pilot replied, "land and water."

At 1438:52, the pilot said, "landing on the shore landing on the shore for two juliet whiskey."

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate preflight planning, the pilot's improper in-flight decisions, and the unsuitable terrain for landing. A factor relating to this accident was fuel exhaustion.

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