NTSB Identification: IAD05FA110.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 26, 2005 in Georgetown, DE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/26/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181, registration: N59RK
Injuries: 2 Fatal,3 Serious.
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.
The private pilot reported that while on final approach to land at a private airport, a greater rate of descent developed than desired. He stated he increased engine power by a small amount, but didn't add more power because he didn't want the airplane to "porpoise." He also said he reduced the amount the flaps were extended. He indicated he saw a vehicle approaching from his left on the public road near the approach end of the runway, but thought the airplane would clear it. Moments later, the airplane struck the vehicle, fatally injuring its two occupants. Postaccident inspection disclosed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies with the airplane. According to FAA publication FAA-H-8083-3, The Airplane Flying Handbook, if an undershoot condition develops during the approach to land, power and pitch attitude should be increased to shallow the angle, but the pilot should not retract the flaps, as that will result in the airplane sinking even more rapidly. The public road where the vehicle was struck was 17.8 feet from the runway threshold. In order to comply with the FAA's recommended minimum of a 15-foot vertical obstruction clearance height, the threshold would have to be displaced approximately 300 feet from the road. The state in which the accident occurred is one of six nationwide that does not provide any regulatory oversight or inspection of private airports.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's misjudged distance/altitude while on final approach to land, which resulted in an in-flight collision with a vehicle. Factors associated with the accident are the pilot's improper use of the flaps, and the state of Delaware's insufficient standards for private airports, which allowed the runway threshold to be in close proximity to a public road. Full narrative available
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