NTSB Identification: ATL04FA190.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, September 21, 2004 in Euharlee, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-301, registration: N801SP
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.
According to the president of Aero Atlanta Flight Center, the purpose of the flight was for one flight instructor to provide a "check-out" flight to the second flight instructor, so that the second flight instructor could begin training students in the PA-32R-301. The flight center president stated that such a flight would typically include the performance of normal and emergency procedures, landings, slow flight, stalls, and steep turns. A witness outside about two miles from the accident site reported hearing an airplane engine noise that sounded "wide open." He stated he then heard two very loud pops, then there was silence. A pilot and mechanic-rated witness reported the airplane sounded "... like it was doing a loop or some kind of high G-load maneuver." Witnesses reported they saw the airplane fall out of the sky in pieces. Examination revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunction of the engine, propeller, or flight controls. Examination revealed the outboard sections of both wings and the stabilator were separated. Fracture surfaces from the left wing main spar, the right wing main spar, and the stabilator were sent to the National Transportation Safety Board, Office of Research and Engineering, Materials Laboratory Division, Washington, D. C., for metallurgical examination. The laboratory report stated there was no evidence of pre-existing cracking or damage, and the fracture characteristics were consistent with overstress separations. The report stated, "Fracture, damage, and deformation patterns indicated upward loading on both wings at the time of fracture. ... Fracture, damage, and deformation patterns on the horizontal stabilator indicated downward bending overstress separations ... ."
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain adequate control of the airplane, which resulted in the pilot exceeding the design limits of the airplane and subsequent in-flight separation. Full narrative available
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