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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 133628
Last updated: 23 March 2021
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Date:23-MAY-1997
Time:20:15
Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-28-140
Owner/operator:Christohper S. Thurman
Registration: N5892W
C/n / msn: 282634
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Arcadia, IN -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature:Private
Departure airport:RLA
Destination airport:RLA
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
On May 23, 1997, at 2015 eastern standard time (est), a Piper PA- 28-150, N5892W, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed during a collision with trees, terrain, and post-collision fire shortly after takeoff from runway 36 at a restricted landing area about 3 miles north of Arcadia, Indiana. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot and 2 passengers were seriously injured. The flight departed Arcadia, Indiana, at 2012 est.

According to the pilot's written statement, N5892W departed a sod airport that was 2,500 feet long. He said the wind "...seemed very light or still." The before departure engine runup was "normal," according to the pilot. He said, "After liftoff (1 notch of flaps) the aircraft did not gain any speed or altitude. It felt like it was barely staying airborne." N5892W collided with trees and the ground about 1/2-mile from, and about 30 degrees to the left of, the runway's departure end.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department Aircraft Accident Report stated the pilot "...said the plane lost power but the engine was running the whole time." The report stated the pilot attempted to turn back but was unable to do so and crashed into the trees. The report stated the pilot "...said he was taking off tonight for a plane ride-locally- for a little bit and then was going to land back here and meet some friends to go out to eat."

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Principal Operations Inspector (POI) interviewed the pilot. During the interview the pilot told the POI he was aware there was a "slight" tailwind during the takeoff. The POI said the pilot didn't believe the 7 knot quartering tailwind would affect the airplane's takeoff performance. The POI said the pilot told him the airplane lifted off about midfield and was not climbing very well.

The fire that followed the tree and ground collision destroyed the airframe except the right wing. The right wing was wedged in the trees next to the wreckage site. Control continuity was established for all 3 axises. N5893W's engine had been fire damaged. The propeller had chordwise scratching on both blades. All 6 propeller bolts were sheared off with the threaded ends remaining in the crankshaft flange inserts. Two of the flange insert holes were elongated.

Mechanical continuity of the engine was established. Thumb compression was established on all 4 cylinders. Examination of the magnetos revealed their inability to produce spark due to melted internal components. The oil suction screen and filter were clean and free of any materials.

The restricted landing area used by the pilot did not have runway edge or approach threshold lighting. No reflective device's marking the runways edge or thresholds were observed. The wind sock was unlighted and had about 50 percent of its cone missing.

An Indiana State Police Air Officer stated he had found a "bong box" in a black leather jacket that was in the airplane. According to this officer, the bong box was filled with marijuana. The officer said the passengers stated the jacket belonged to the pilot. The pilot stated the jacket belonged to the previous owner of the airplane. The pilot submitted to a urine test for THC, a component of marijuana, about 5 days after the accident. The results of that test were positive. Test results are attached to this report's appendix.
PROBABLE CAUSE:improper planning/decision by the pilot. Factors related to the accident were: the pilot's selection of the wrong runway for takeoff, and the resultant tailwind.

Sources:

NTSB id 20001208X07883


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
21-Dec-2016 19:26 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

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