NTSB Identification: SEA06FA007.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 15, 2005 in Everett, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N5FN
Injuries: 3 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.

The pilot had two Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Young Eagle participants on board. Event organizers said the airplane was scheduled to land at Paine Field to allow the two Young Eagle participants to exchange seats, and then return to Boeing Field. Video cameras, at Paine Field, show the airplane crossing the threshold of runway 16L, the right wing rising up, and the airplane touching down approximately 200 feet from the end of the runway. A black skid mark was found on the left side of the runway; another skid mark parallel to and 10 feet left of the first mark, started 20 feet later, in the grass. The two parallel marks veered left until both marks were in the grass. The marks in the grass then proceeded parallel to the runway, and a third skid mark was observed between the first two. On taxiway F-2 [which was perpendicular to runway 16L and the skid marks], a 36 inch long silver score mark was found, which was parallel to the three skid marks in the grass [wreckage examination found the airplane's tailskid assembly had been ground down]. Approximately 20 feet off the F-2 taxiway, an airport breakaway sign was broken from its mounts, and a black tire mark was found in the center of it. Next, the pilot transmitted to the ATC controller: "Paine Tower, Cherokee 5FN, something there happened, I don't know not sure what it doesn't feel right. Can you see my wheels?" Tower responded with: "Cherokee 5FN roger, we're looking, [your] wheels appear normal." The pilot said: "I'm at a steep angle at full power [and] hardly climbing." Tower asks: "Are your flaps up?" The pilot: "[The] flaps are up." Witnesses reported seeing the airplane depart on the runway heading, but at a very low altitude. One witness said that the airplane never got higher than 100 to 150 feet, and "he [the pilot] kept pulling the nose up at a very steep angle (about 45 degrees) and then push the nose down. I never saw him push the nose down enough to gain much air speed. I thought he was going to stall it at least once above the runway. I saw him go through this cycle 4 or 5 times before he went out of sight behind the hangar." Another witness said "he was not gaining altitude. The plane was pitching up and down. I watched it fly over some trees, then it started losing altitude and it disappeared behind the trees." Three witnesses working near the crash site reported hearing "a loud snap of breaking tree tops." One of these witnesses said he saw the airplane's right wing hit the trees, and the airplane spun right and went nose first to the ground. A postimpact fire ensued.

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

The pilot's inadequate airspeed during his aborted landing takeoff/climb which lead to a series of stall/mushes and subsequent impact with trees. Contributing factors were the pilot's loss of aircraft control during his initial landing approach and his immediate departure from the runway after touching down, his aborted landing attempt and subsequent impact with an airport sign, and the trees.

Full narrative available

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