National Transportation Safety Board - Aircraft Accident/Incident Database Accident Rpt# ERA14FA288 06/13/2014 808 EDT Regis# N5335R White Plains, NY Acft Mk/Mdl PIPER PA46 500TP-500TP Eng Mk/Mdl P&W PT6A SER Acft Dmg: DESTROYED Rpt Status: Prelim Prob Caus: Pending
Apt: Westchester County HPN
Acft TT 1931
Acft SN 4697100
Flt Conducted Under: FAR 091
Aircraft Fire: NONE
Fatal 1 Ser Inj 0
Opr Name: Opr dba:
On June 13, 2014, at 0808 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-46-500TP, N5335R, operated by a private individual, was destroyed when it collided with trees and terrain shortly after takeoff from Westchester County Airport (HPN), White Plains, New York. The private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was destined for Portland International Jetport (PWM), Portland, Maine. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
The pilot had flown from PWM to HPN the previous day. The fixed base operator (FBO) at HPN serviced the airplane with 60 gallons of Jet-A fuel, which filled the tanks and FBO personnel were advised to expect the pilot at 0900 on the following day. The pilot subsequently arrived at the FBO at 0745 and requested his airplane be brought outside and prepared for an immediate departure. Preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the flight departed HPN at 0806 and that the air traffic control tower was contacted shortly thereafter by the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control facility inquiring if the flight had departed. The local controller responded that the flight should have departed but that "visibility was so low he couldn't tell." Review of recorded radar data indicates five radar targets identified as the accident airplane were captured, and all were over HPN airport property. The first three radar targets began about mid-point of the 6,500-foot runway and each were at 500 feet mean sea level (msl). The airport elevation was 439 feet msl. The final two targets depicted a shallow right turn and were at 600 and 700 feet msl respectively, before radar contact was lost. The final radar target was observed about 1/2 mile from the accident site, and the final track roughly aligned with the wreckage path. Examination of the accident site indicated that the airplane collided with trees and terrain behind a house, and in front of horse stables on residential property.
Two witnesses at the stables were interviewed and their statements were consistent throughout. They each stated that the weather was "dark, rainy, and foggy," and their attention was drawn to the airplane when it appeared out of the clouds immediately above the trees. One stated that he heard the airplane engine before he saw the airplane. The airplane was wings level when the outboard section of the left wing struck the first tree, the inboard section of the left wing struck the second tree, and then the airplane broke apart in a large cloud of blue "smoke" that smelled like "diesel" fuel.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued on November 25, 2013 and was not valid for any class after July 31, 2014. There were restrictions that required the pilot to wear corrective lenses for distant vision and possess glasses for near vision. The pilot reported 5,100 hours of flight experience on his last medical application. According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 2001. According to a trip log recovered at the accident site, the airplane had accrued 1,931 total hours of flight time. The most recent annual inspection was completed June 3, 2014, at 1,927 total aircraft hours.
At 0815, the weather reported at HPN, located 1 nautical mile north of the accident site, included an overcast ceiling at 200 feet and 1/4 mile visibility in fog.
The wind was from 090 degrees at 6 knots. The temperature was 17 degrees C, the dew point was 17 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.85 inches ofmercury.
Examination of the accident site revealed a strong odor of fuel and that all major components of the airplane were accounted for. No evidence of an in-flight or post-impact fire was observed on any of the airframe components. The wreckage path was oriented about a magnetic heading of 270 degrees and was approximately 360 feet in length. The initial impact point was in a tree approximately 60 feet above the ground. Other trees were struck before the initial ground scar, which was about 205 feet beyond the first tree strike. One tree, about 24 inches in diameter, had a 10-foot length of trunk sectioned and carried 50 feet down the wreckage path. Several pieces of angularly-cut wood were found along the length of the debris field.
The airplane was fragmented, and scattered along the length of the wreckage path. Control continuity was traced through multiple breaks in the control cables and bellcranks to the relevant flight controls, and each separation of the cables exhibited signatures consistent with tensile overload. Control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the rudder and elevator.
The fuselage came to rest on its left side against a tree, 280 feet down the wreckage path. The instrument panel and cockpit were destroyed by impact. The cabin and empennage were largely intact.
The engine and propeller were both about 290 feet down the wreckage path, and separated by approximately 20 feet. All four propeller blades exhibited similar twisting, bending, leading and trailing edge gouging, and chord-wise scratching. One propeller blade was fractured near its root and on its outboard tip, but the associated pieces were located at the accident site.
The engine was separated from the airplane and found upright. The accessory gearbox and inlet case were fractured at numerous locations. The accessory gearbox spur gears and fractured sections of the accessory gearbox were recovered at the site.
The first-stage compressor blades tips were all bent opposite the direction of rotation. The exhaust duct and gas generator were compressed from impact.
The gas generator case was sectioned between the "C" flange and the fuel nozzle bosses to access the hot section components. The upstream side of the first stage power turbine blades and disc exhibited rotational scoring from contact with the downstream side of the first-stage power turbine vane and baffle. The power turbine retention nut exhibited rotational scoring consistent with contact with the downstream side of the first-stage power turbine baffle.
The downstream side of the compressor turbine disc and blades exhibited rotational scoring from contact with the upstream side of the first stage power turbine vane and baffle.
An engine data acquisition unit and a tablet computer were recovered from the accident site and sent to the NTSB recorders laboratory for subsequent examination.
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