NTSB Identification: NYC03LA060.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Saturday, March 01, 2003 in Westerly, RI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/05/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-235, registration: N8547N
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot and pilot rated passenger departed with the fuel tanks half-full. They alternated flying duties while performing touch-and-go landings. After three landings, the pilot positioned the fuel selector from the left main fuel tank to the right main fuel tank. During the sixth approach, the pilot rated passenger was manipulating the controls. While turning onto final approach, the pilot rated passenger reduced the throttle to idle and turned the carburetor heat off. While on an approximate 1/2-mile final leg, the airplane flew below the glidepath and drifted to the right. At the time, the pilot was looking out the left side and to the rear of the airplane. The pilot rated passenger input throttle control to correct the descent rate, but the engine did not respond. The pilot rated passenger alerted the pilot to the problem, and the pilot took control of the airplane. He attempted a restart procedure, which included positioning the fuel selector to the left main fuel tank, verifying that the fuel pump was on, and cycling the ignition and throttle. The engine did not restart and the pilot subsequently performed a forced landing into trees about 500 feet short of the runway. The pilot rated passenger reported that his biannual flight review was expired, he had no flight experience within the preceding 12 months, and no flight experience in the make and model accident airplane. Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector did not reveal any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions. The inspector stated that there was fuel in both main fuel tanks, the fuel selector, and the carburetor bowl. Review of FAA-H-8083-3, Airplane Flying Handbook, revealed: "The ability to estimate the distance an airplane will glide to a landing is the real basis of all power-off accuracy approaches and landings. This will largely determine the amount of maneuvering that may be done from a given altitude. In addition to the ability to estimate distance, it requires the ability to maintain the proper glide while maneuvering the airplane."

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

The pilot-in-command's delayed remedial action when the airplane flew below the glidepath, and a total loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

Index for Mar2003 | Index of months