National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report

 

 

Location:

Honolulu, HI

Accident Number:

WPR17LA138

Date & Time:

06/30/2017, 1330 HST

Registration:

N4244T

Aircraft:

PIPER PA 28-140

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Defining Event:

Loss of engine power (total)

Injuries:

3 Serious

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis

 

The private pilot reported that he conducted a preflight inspection to prepare for the local personal flight and that a minimum of 20 gallons of fuel was on board. He started the engine and taxied the airplane to an open area for a run-up. Shortly after takeoff, about 300 ft above ground level, the engine lost power. He initiated an emergency landing to a riverbed. The airplane subsequently came to rest under a highway overpass and caught fire.

Postaccident visual and engine examinations revealed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction. Further, impact and fire damage precluded a determination of the cause of the loss of engine power.

 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
 

A total loss of engine power during initial climb for reasons that could not be determined due to impact and fire damage.

 

 

Findings

Not determined

Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Initial climb

Loss of engine power (total) (Defining event)

Landing

Off-field or emergency landing

Post-impact

Fire/smoke (post-impact)

 

On June 30, 2017, about 1330 Hawaii-Aleutian standard time, a Piper PA-28-140 airplane, N4244T, collided with the ground under a highway overpass following a loss of engine power shortly after takeoff from Daniel K Inouye International Airport (HNL), Honolulu, Hawaii. The private pilot, a commercial pilot rated passenger and a passenger were seriously injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was privately owned and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight that departed HNL at 1320.

The pilot reported that a preflight inspection was accomplished and that a minimum of 20 gallons of fuel was on board. The engine was started, and the airplane was taxied to an open area for a run-up. Shortly after takeoff from runway 4 left, about 300 ft above ground level, the pilot noted that the engine lost power. He subsequently initiated an emergency landing to a riverbed; the airplane came to rest under a highway overpass and caught fire.

The rear seat passenger reported to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector that the right seat pilot took control of the airplane just prior to the collision and he had cut off the mixture (and power) just prior to ground impact.

The owner of the airplane reported that the airplane had been flown every day and no issues with the operation of the airplane were reported. He indicated that the fuel tanks would be filled to the tabs (20 gallons in each tank). The airplane would fly one flight with the fuel selector positioned to one fuel tank, and then on the next flight it would be positioned on the other fuel tank. Prior to the accident flight, the owner had instructed the pilots to switch fuel tanks prior to takeoff since they were used to flying in Cessna airplanes that flew with the fuel selector positioned to BOTH.

 

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Private

Age:

20, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine Land

Seat Occupied:

Left

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

3-point

Instrument Rating(s):

None

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

No

Medical Certification:

Class 3 None

Last FAA Medical Exam:

02/03/2017

Occupational Pilot:

No

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

04/29/2017

Flight Time:

68 hours (Total, all aircraft), 5 hours (Total, this make and model), 28 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

 

 

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate:

Commercial

Age:

28, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine Land

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

 

Restraint Used:

3-point

Instrument Rating(s):

Airplane

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

No

Medical Certification:

Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

10/04/2015

Occupational Pilot:

No

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

04/12/2016

Flight Time:

775 hours (Total, all aircraft), 657 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

 

 

The 20-year-old left seat pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating in airplane single-engine land. The pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration third-class medical certificate issued February 3, 2017 with no waivers or limitations. The pilot's total flight experience was about 68 hours. He logged 28 hours in the previous 90 days, and 8 hours in the previous 30 days. A total of 5 hours were logged in the make and model airplane involved in the accident.

The 28-year-old right seat pilot held a commercial certificate with ratings in airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration first-class medical certificate issued October 4, 2015, with no waivers or limitations. The pilot's total flight experience was about 775 hours.

 

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

PIPER

Registration:

N4244T

Model/Series:

PA 28-140

Aircraft Category:

Airplane

Year of Manufacture:

1971

Amateur Built:

No

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

28-7225103

Landing Gear Type:

Tricycle

Seats:

4

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

 

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

 

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

1 Reciprocating

Airframe Total Time:

 

Engine Manufacturer:

LYCOMING

ELT:

 

Engine Model/Series:

O-320-E30

Registered Owner:

MUELLER JAHN P

Rated Power:

140 hp

Operator:

On file

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

 

The 4-seat, low-wing, fixed-gear airplane, serial number 28-7225103, was manufactured in 1971 and was powered by a 140-horsepower Lycoming O-320 series engine. The owner of the airplane reported that the maintenance logbooks for both the airframe and engine were inside the airplane at the time of the accident and were destroyed in the post-crash fire. No total times nor maintenance inspection documentation was obtained.

 

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

PHNL

Distance from Accident Site:

 

Observation Time:

1253 HST

Direction from Accident Site:

 

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Few / 2700 ft agl

Visibility

10 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

 

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

17 knots / 25 knots

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

79°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

30.03 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

29°C / 16°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

Departure Point:

Honolulu, HI (PHNL)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

Unknown

Destination:

Honolulu, HI (PHNL)

Type of Clearance:

None

Departure Time:

1320 HST

Type of Airspace:

 

 

 

 

Airport Information

Airport:

Honolulu (PHNL)

Runway Surface Type:

N/A

Airport Elevation:

12 ft

Runway Surface Condition:

Unknown

Runway Used:

N/A

IFR Approach:

None

Runway Length/Width:

 

VFR Approach/Landing:

Forced Landing

 

 

 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

2 Serious

Aircraft Damage:

Substantial

Passenger Injuries:

1 Serious

Aircraft Fire:

On-Ground

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

3 Serious

Latitude, Longitude:

21.316667, -157.916667 (est)

 

The airplane came to rest under an overpass about 1.5 miles north of the departure end of runway 4 left. The ground was dirt and loose rocks. The first of 3 ground impact points was noted about 55 ft south of the main wreckage. The main wreckage was facing to the south and laying on its belly. The landing gear had separated and was in front of the engine, which remained partially attached at the firewall. The inboard section of the right wing remained partially attached at the fuselage. The outboard wingtip section was separated and within about 13 ft of the wreckage. The left wing, in its entirety, remained attached to the fuselage, however was deformed about mid-section. The empennage remained in place. All flight control surfaces were accounted for. The aft end of the engine and cabin area, aft to the baggage compartment, was consumed by the postimpact fire.

The postaccident engine examination revealed that the engine sustained fire damage primarily to the rear engine compartment. The cockpit controls were destroyed and could not be moved or identified. A visual examination of the engine revealed no evidence of a catastrophic engine failure.

The top and bottom spark plugs were removed and noted that the electrodes displayed normal operating signatures. The magnetos remained in place to their mountings, however were destroyed by heat distress and could not be tested.

The engine valve covers were removed and the crankshaft was turned by hand. Thumb compression was established in each cylinder. Accessory gear and valve train continuity was established. The oil filter/screen was destroyed. The carburetor was destroyed by fire.

The fuel selector valve was burned and melted. The valve position could not be verified.

 

 


 

 


Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Howard D Plagens

Report Date:

02/26/2019

Additional Participating Persons:

Joe Monfort; FAA FSDO; Honolulu, HI

Publish Date:

02/26/2019

Note:

The NTSB did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Investigation Docket:

http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/dockList.cfm?mKey=95471