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N6337J accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Melville, NY
40.793432°N, 73.415121°W

Tail number N6337J
Accident date 31 May 1997
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-180
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On May 31, 1997, about 2113 eastern daylight time, a Piper, PA-28-180, N6337J, was destroyed as it impacted the terrain during a missed approach at the Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York. The certificated private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions existed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from the Sikorsky Memorial Airport (BDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut, about 2045.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Service Station recording of weather briefings given that day, indicated that the pilot received a weather briefing about 1230. The departure time from FRG was not discovered, but upon landing at BDR, a lineman for a Fixed Base Operator stated that the airplane parked at their facility, and then, the occupants took a taxicab to a local eatery. A waiter at the restaurant stated that the party finished their dinner and left about 2000.

The Federal Aviation Administration radar tapes and transcripts of the flight were reviewed. The transcripts revealed that after departure from BDR, the pilot requested an instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance to FRG. The controller asked if the pilot filed an IFR flight plan and the pilot replied that he had not. The controller assigned a transponder code, an altitude and gave an altimeter setting, then vectored the pilot to FRG for ILS Runway 14.

En route, the controller was heard questioning the pilot about his altitude. The pilot responded that "he was at 2,900 feet and assigned 3,000 feet." The controller replied that his transponder indicated 2,700 feet. Prior to intercepting the final approach course, the pilot asked for the localizer frequency at FRG. The controller gave the frequency to the pilot, and once established on the approach, the pilot was switched to the tower frequency. The pilot checked in on the tower frequency, and the tower controller told the pilot that the airplane appeared east of the final approach course. The pilot concurred and nothing more was heard until he radioed that he was executing the missed approach procedure.

The Federal Aviation Administration's radar tape displayed the airplane as it turned east prior to the missed approach point. The airplane's transponder indicated 600 feet and was on northeasterly heading when its radar return was last captured. The airplane impacted the ground on a westerly heading, in an upright attitude.

The accident occurred during the hours of darkness approximately 40 degrees, 46 minutes north latitude, and 73 degrees, 26 minutes west longitude.


The pilot held a Private Pilot Certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane.

His most recent Federal Aviation Administration Third Class Medical Certificate was issued on May 16, 1995, with no waivers.

No flight logbooks for the pilot were recovered. The application for the medical certificate indicated that the pilot listed a total of 450 flight hours. Reviewing old flight time log sheets kept on the accident airplane, and old billing statements for flight time billed to the accident pilot, indicated that the he flew the accident airplane a total of 50 hours since May 9, 1995, and 7 hours in the last 90 days. It was undetermined if the pilot was night or instrument current.


The airplane, registered to Barr Glenn, Limited, which consisted of six co-owners, one of which was the pilot. Examination of the maintenance records revealed that the 100 Hour Inspection was accomplished on October 18, 1996. The last inspection of the pitot static system was accomplished on October 25, 1993. A co-owner of the airplane stated to the Federal Aviation Administration Inspector that the airplane was not intended to be used for instrument flight rules flight, and co-owners knew of that condition.


The weather recorded at 2117 at FRG airport was: Ceiling: 200 broken; Visibility: 3/4 mile with fog; Wind: 120 degrees at 10 knots; Temperature/Dewpoint: 64/64 degrees Fahrenheit; Altimeter: 29.96 inches.

The FAA Flight Service Station had no record of the pilot receiving a weather brief prior to departure from BDR.

The airplane impacted the ground near buildings which had outdoor security cameras. The cameras did not record the accident, but revealed fog on the ground at the time of the accident.


The Decision Height to execute the missed approach procedure was an altitude of 329 feet MSL. The missed approach procedure was to climb to 800 feet, then climbing left turn to 3,000 feet direct to Deer Park VOR and hold.

A flight check of the runway 14 ILS was completed on June 3, 1997. The flight check reported that the facility operation was found satisfactory, with the LOM Out-of-Service. Maintenance for the facility was unable to rectify why the LOM was Out-of-Service at time of flight check. However, it stated that it was not clear when the LOM went Out-of-Service. Other airplanes utilized the ILS runway 14 prior to the accident, with no problems reported.


The wreckage was examined on June 1, 1997, and all major components of the airplane were contained in the vicinity of the accident scene. The airplane's Initial Impact Point (IIP) was in a field adjacent to an industrial park. The airplane impacted in a flat upright attitude on a heading of about 270 degrees magnetic. The airplane struck with a small tree, 45 feet west of the IIP. Beyond the tree, a metal fence at the bottom of a 10 foot slopped embankment was also damaged. The outboard portion of the right wing was found entangled in the tree and metal fence. A metal light pole adjacent to a tree, both about 30-40 feet in height, were positioned about 30 feet from the top of the embankment.. The tree was missing a portion of its top section and had airplane parts hanging in its limbs. The light pole was not impacted. Adjacent to and south of the light pole, a 8-10 foot metal fence ran east to west, separating two parking lots. Westward, past the light pole, tree, and a fence, the airplane impacted on the asphalt of the south parking lot. The airplane came to rest 340 feet from the IIP, and a post crash fire engulf the wreckage.

Airplane parts were spewed on both the north and south sides of the fence with the majority on the south side with the main wreckage. A main mount of the airplane was found on the north parking lot about 330 feet from the tree at the top of the embankment. Its trajectory was about 5-10 degrees north of the main wreckage.

The wreckage was moved to Eastway Aircraft Services on Long Island-MacArthur Airport, Ronkonkoma, New York, for further examination on June 2 and 3, 1997. The examination revealed that the main cabin, cockpit, and instrument panel were consumed in the post crash fire. The empennage section exhibited heat damage, with the vertical tail and the horizontal stabilator, both intact, but bent and crushed. The left wing was fire damaged and its flap and aileron still attached. The left wing was separated from the fuselage at the wing root, but came to rest with the fuselage. The right wing was separated from the fuselage near the wing root, with the majority of the wing found imbedded in the small tree and metal fence at the base of the embankment. No airframe anomalies were noted.

The engine was still attached to the firewall, with the propeller still attached to the engine. A tip of one of the propeller blades was found at the IIP. Another portion of the same blade was broken off and found with the main wreckage. The other blade was bent, twisted and curled 180 degrees. The engine, along with its associated accessories incurred impact damage and/or were destroyed by the post crash fire. The crankshaft was rotated and continuity to the accessory gears and valve action was confirmed; no thumb compression was obtained from any of the four cylinders. The cylinders were bore scoped and no damage was observed. No pre-existing engine anomalies were found.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by Gwen I. Harleman, M.D., at the office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner Office, on June 1, 1997.

The toxicological testing report completed on the pilot by the Division of Medical-Legal Investigations and Forensic Sciences, Suffolk County, New York, revealed negative results.


A Recorded Radar Study was completed by the National Transportation Safety Board, Office of Research and Engineering, December 22, 1997.

The data depicted the accident airplane initially crossing the center line of the ILS to the west, and during the remainder of the approach, crossed back over the centerline, and remained on the eastern side. The altitude data depicted the accident airplane initially starting the approach below the glide slope. During the approach, the airplane went through and remained at or above the glide slope for the remainder of the approach.

The Study also revealed that during the last 3 minutes of recorded data, the airplane's ground speed varied between about 70 and 135 knots.

The wreckage was released to the owners' representative on June 3, 1997.

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