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N63888 accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Estacada, OR
45.289566°N, 122.333696°W
Tail number N63888
Accident date 28 Mar 1993
Aircraft type Piper PA-23-250
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On Sunday, March 28, 1993, at approximately 2150 Pacific standard time (PST), a Piper PA 23 250, N63888, collided with the terrain while maneuvering about 13 miles southeast of Estacada, Oregon. The FAA certificated flight instructor and his three passengers received fatal injuries, and the aircraft was destroyed. The pleasure flight, which had departed Portland Troutdale Airport, Portland, Oregon, at about 2135 PST, was in unknown meteorological conditions at the time of the accident. The pilot, who was en route to Corvallis, Oregon, did not file a flight plan or request flight following. The ELT, which was activated upon impact, was turned off at the scene.

According to family members, the occupants of the aircraft had flown to the Portland area for dinner, and were returning to Corvallis in order to drop off two of the passengers. While taxiing for takeoff at Troutdale, the pilot of 63888 asked the tower what frequency he should use for "clearance in the ARSA," and then after receiving a frequency, he advised the tower that he would be making a left crosswind departure. As he continued his taxi, the tower advised him to remain below 1,500 feet while in the Airport Traffic Area (ATA). The pilot acknowledged the instruction, and asked for a repeat of the altitude. The tower repeated the altitude, and the pilot acknowledged the clarification. After receiving a clearance for takeoff, the pilot departed Troutdale Airport, initially climbed to about 1,500 feet, but did not contact Portland Approach for flight following. During his departure, the pilot made a left turn to a heading of about 120 degrees, which established the aircraft on a course which was near, and approximately parallel to, Federal Route #26, a highway which runs southeast from the Troutdale area. The pilot maintained this course for about eight miles, and then initiated a right turn which took the aircraft south toward State Route #224. About three miles after making this turn, the pilot initiated a fairly constant rate of climb, which continued until the point of impact. After crossing Route #224, the pilot continued to turn further to the right in a shallow right hand climbing turn. About six miles after crossing Route #224, the aircraft impacted raising terrain approximately 13 miles southeast of Estacada, Oregon. The aircraft came to rest on the south side of the Oasis Creek drainage at an altitude of about 4,200 feet MSL.


The pilot's records show that he kept two separate pilot log books. One, which contained almost exclusively multiengine experience, had entries up through March 5, 1993. The other, which recorded primarily single engine experience, showed entries up to February 3, 1993. A review of the entries in these logs showed one night landing recorded in the last 90 days.


Surface observations taken at Troutdale, during the eight hour period from 1150 PST to 1946 PST, showed a consistent sky condition of 7,000 scattered, with a broken or overcast layer at 25,000 feet. The observation taken at 2046 PST, about an hour before the accident, showed that the scattered clouds had dropped to 5,000 feet, with a broken ceiling at 25,000. The observation taken at 2146 PST, approximately the same time as the accident, showed that the ceiling had lowered to 3,500 feet broken.

According to individuals who were in the general area of the accident, throughout the evening the clouds in the area had gradually lowered until there was a ceiling at approximately the 4,000 foot level.

In addition, a pilot who landed at Troutdale, near the time that the accident aircraft departed, mentioned to an investigating FAA inspector that the night was exceptionally dark, with no terrain definition being illuminated by natural lighting.


The initial impact scars were located near the top of a group of trees estimated to be approximately 150 feet tall. From this point, the impact track continued on a magnetic heading of 180 degrees through a dense forest for approximately 300 feet. Although much of the aircraft structure separated from the main wreckage along the length of the track, the main wreckage came to rest at the base of a group of trees. These trees showed impact scars about 45 feet above the ground. The impact track ran up a 20 degree snow covered slope.

The sections of the aircraft located along the first 50 feet of the impact track showed direct rearward crushing and outward hydraulic expansion. The sections found beyond the first 50 feet showed impact from a number of different directions. Numerous branches and tree tops had broken off along the entire impact track. Aircraft components, and pieces of the airframe structure, were spread along the entire track. Almost all of the engine accessories had separated from the engines and were scattered along the last 50 feet of the track.

The pilot and the two female passengers were ejected from the aircraft, and the male passenger was located within the main wreckage (see diagram).

Both blades of the right propeller showed scaring/rubbing parallel to the chord of the blade. Both blades were bent to the rear, and approximately six inches of the tip of one blade had sheared off. The shearing/tearing of the blade extended inward along the trailing edge of the blade for about another six inches. Only one blade was found from the left engine. It had very little chordwise scarring, but showed a number of impact indentations along its leading edge. The other blade had separated from the propeller hub, and the hub had fractured in the area where the missing blade had separated.

Both engines and there accessories were subjected to a partial teardown, and no pre impact malfunctions were able to be identified. There was no evidence of fire.


Specimens from the pilot were tested by the Department Of Transportation's Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, and no evidence of Carboxyhemoglobin, Cyanide, Ethanol, or drugs were detected. Tests conducted by the Clackcamas County Coroner showed a positive indication for Hepatitis B.


The wreckage was released to Specialty Aircraft Company, a representative of the estate of the owner, on March 30, 1993, at Redmond, Oregon.

NTSB Probable Cause


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