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N103TK accident description

Nevada map... Nevada list
Crash location 36.283333°N, 115.183333°W
Nearest city North Las Vegas, NV
36.198859°N, 115.117501°W
6.9 miles away
Tail number N103TK
Accident date 31 Aug 2003
Aircraft type Piper PA-46-350P
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On August 31, 2003, at 2000 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-46-350P single-engine airplane, N103TK, collided with terrain short of runway 12R at North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), North Las Vegas, Nevada. The pilot/owner operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The commercial pilot was not injured but one passenger received serious injuries. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that departed VGT at an undetermined time. No flight plan had been filed.

According to a witness, who was located at a gas station near the approach end of the runway, he observed the airplane on final approach. He stated that the airplane's wings were rocking back and forth, and then the airplane dropped out of the sky, "like a rock." He did not hear any unusual engine sounds.

According to the pilot's written statement, the purpose of the flight was to establish night proficiency. During the third landing on final approach, while conducting the final check list, he noted that the airplane was about 300-400 feet above the ground, and on the glide slope "with PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicator) lights." The airspeed was 85 knots with the landing gear extended and 10-degrees of flaps. The pilot stated that the airplane started to "pancake down," and he did not know why the airspeed had bled off. When he realized what was happening he applied full power and full rich mixture. The pilot stated that the engine surged, but the airplane was too close to the ground and the airplane landed.

In a telephone interview with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector the pilot reported that he had accrued 50 hours total time in the accident airplane; however, had 500 hours flying Piper Malibu's. The pilot accrued those 50 hours in the accident in the last 90 days. He had also participated in the Federal Aviation Administrations Wings program, and had received 14 hours of PA-46 transition training.

During the interview the pilot indicated that he was disoriented for a "microsecond," there was no shudder, and he did not recall a stall warning horn. He also stated that there was nothing mechanically wrong with the airplane, and that it was very well maintained.

An FAA inspector examined the airframe and engine. Representatives from Textron Lycoming Engines and New Piper Aircraft were parties to the investigation. The right wing of the airplane had separated from the wing root, and the left wing was partially separated. The rear pressure bulkhead, firewall were damaged. The engine valve train and gear train continuity was established. The engine was bore scoped, with no abnormalities noted.

According to the airplane manufacturer's approved flight manual; "landings may be made with any flap setting. Normally, full flaps are used." The final approach course should be flown at 80 - 85 knots with full flaps extended and power as required to maintain the desired approach angle. For a flaps up condition, the approach speed should be 95 knots. Post accident examination found the flaps in the retracted position with the cockpit selector handle in the up position.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's failure to maintain an adequate airspeed during approach for the airplane's flight configuration, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and impact with terrain.

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