NTSB Identification: WPR10FA399
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 13, 2010 in Emigrant Gap, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA28R, registration: N3463Q
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 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.

On August 13, 2010, about 1245 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-201, N3463Q, impacted pine trees in the Tahoe National Forest, near Emigrant Gap, California. Monterey Bay Aviation, Inc., operated the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91, as a cross-country flight. The certificated private pilot and certified flight instructor (CFI) were killed; the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed Auburn Municipal Airport (AUN), Auburn, California. No flight plan had been filed and the destination was unknown.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the flight had originally departed Watsonville Municipal Airport (WVI), Watsonville, California, about 1030, with a planned destination of Auburn; an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed for the flight. FAA records revealed that the IFR flight plan had been closed once the flight reached Auburn. According to the FAA, the pilots had gotten refreshments at the airport restaurant and then departed the airport about 1215.

Witnesses located at the Tunnel Mills campsite reported that the accident airplane flew over their campsite between 1230 and 1300, while they were eating lunch. The airplane was low-flying, just above the tree tops. Witnesses said the engine was running and sounded normal; no sputtering. After disappearing from their view, they heard two "pops" followed by silence. After the campers were able to locate the accident site, they contacted the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

The CHP notified Placer County Sheriff's Department, who responded to the accident site. The accident site was located about a 1/2 mile east of the campsite in mountainous terrain.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) and the FAA accident coordinator responded to the accident site.

The airplane came to rest inverted at the base of 200-foot pine trees adjacent to an old logging road; at an elevation of 4,700 feet. The flight path of the airplane was easterly toward rising terrain. The entire wreckage came to rest in a linear distribution path of 110 yards. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, the right wing, and a portion of the left wing. The outer portion of the left wing, about 5 feet, separated from the wing and was found about 90 yards west of the main wreckage. The engine and propeller assembly came to rest about 20 yards east of the main wreckage.

The airplane was recovered and taken to a secure facility for further inspection.

Index for Aug2010 | Index of months