NTSB Identification: MIA02FA173.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, September 24, 2002 in Yeehaw Junction, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-301T, registration: N106JG
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While in cruise flight at 7,000 feet, the pilot requested a descent to 5,000 feet, and was subsequently cleared to 5,000 feet. The controller noted that the flight had ascended to 7,500 feet. About the same time the pilot radioed, "gyro's out one oh six juliet gulf." The last radar return showed the flight at an altitude of 900 feet, and had descended at a rate of about 11,143 feet per minute. Examination of the wreckage showed that the right wing, vertical stabilizer, and the stabilator had separated in flight, due to overstress. Weather and tracking data showed that at the time of the radio transmission to Air Traffic Control that, the gyro was out, the airplane was penetrating intense to extreme weather echoes level 5 to level 6; containing thunderstorms that contained heavy rain, instrument metrological conditions, up and downdrafts, horizontal gusts, and turbulence of at least moderate intensity. The pilot had contacted the Automated Flight Service Station, and requested weather along the route of flight. The specialist reported low levels of precipitation with thunderstorm activity. There was no evidence to show that the Automated Flight Service Station specialist provided the pilot with forecasted adverse weather conditions. In addition, there was no evidence to indicate that the FAA, Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZMA), Sector 3 Vero Beach Terminal Radar (R3) controller advised the pilot of the pertinent information on observed weather areas, displayed on his radarscope. There was no evidence found to indicate that the gyros had failed or malfunctioned.

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

the pilot's continued flight into known severe weather, resulting in an in-flight separation of the right wing, vertical stabilizer and the stabilator. Factors in this accident were heavy thunderstorm, and failure of the FAA controllers to provide the pilot information on observed weather areas, and the specialist at the AFSS to provide the pilot with forecasted adverse weather conditions.

Full narrative available

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