NTSB Identification: ERA13FA088
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, December 16, 2012 in Parkton, NC
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-160, registration: N5714W
Injuries: 1 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 December 16, 2012, about 1532 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-160, N5714W, registered to and operated by a private individual, crashed in a wooded area near Parkton, North Carolina. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules (IFR) plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight from Summerville Airport (DYB), Summerville, South Carolina, to Fayetteville Regional Airport/Grannis Field (FAY), Fayetteville, North Carolina. The airplane sustained substantial damage and the private pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The flight originated from DYB about 1400.
After takeoff the flight proceeded towards the destination airport. According to recorded air traffic control communications with the FAY air traffic control tower (ATCT), the pilot contacted Fayetteville Approach Control and advised the controller that he had automated terminal information service (ATIS) information Alpha and the approach controller advised the pilot to expect vectors for ILS approach to runway 4. The pilot was vectored for an instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 04 at FAY Airport, and air traffic control (ATC) communications were transferred to local control at the FAY ATCT.
The pilot established contact with local control and advised the controller that he was descending to 2,000 feet. The local controller cleared the pilot to land runway 4 and advised him the wind was from 240 degrees at 3 knots. About 2 minutes 26 seconds later, coordination between the local and radar east controller occurred. During that conversation it was noted that the flight was drifting right of course. The local controller then asked the pilot if he was receiving the localizer, to which he replied he was having a little bit of trouble right now and I seem to have, “…lost some gyros but I think we are getting it.” The local controller advised the pilot to maintain 2,000 and suggested a heading of 020 to join the localizer, which the pilot acknowledged.
At that time coordination between the local and radar east control positions occurred. The local controller then asked the pilot if he was picking up the glideslope to which he advised “…we are on it now.” The local controller asked the pilot if he wanted to attempt another approach but the pilot stated that, “…I think we are doing OK if it looks OK to you.” The local controller informed the pilot that he could not tell with the rate of descent and cleared the pilot for a localizer approach to runway 4. The pilot acknowledged the clearance with part of his call sign and approximately 37 seconds later, the controller cancelled the approach clearance and advised the pilot to climb and maintain 2,000 feet and fly runway heading, which he acknowledged. The controller then informed the pilot that overcast clouds existed at 500 feet, and the flight was at 1,200 feet about ½ mile away from the runway so he asked the pilot if he wanted to perform another approach. The pilot advised he did, and coordination between the local and east radar control positions occurred. The local controller then advised the pilot to fly heading 090 and climb and maintain 2,000 feet, which he acknowledged. About 4 seconds later, the controller asked the pilot his heading and he advised 081. Coordination between the local and Approach Control controller then occurred, and at that time a discussion was made about the pilot’s ability to maintain a steady heading. The local controller again instructed the pilot to maintain 090 degrees, climb and maintain 2,000 feet, and to contact Fayetteville Departure Control on frequency 133.0 MHz, which he acknowledge by reading back part of the frequency.
The pilot established contact with Fayetteville Approach Control, and he advised the departure controller that he was heading 095 going to 090 degrees. The flight was radar identified and the controller then advised the pilot to turn to heading 140 degrees, which he acknowledged. Review of recorded radar data from Fayetteville ATCT revealed that after the controller instructed the pilot to turn to heading 140 degrees, the radar recorded the pilot turned to right past the instructed heading. The voice communications then indicate that the controller advised the pilot to fly heading 220 degrees which he acknowledged. The recorded radar data indicates that the controller then asked the pilot what his current heading was and he replied 310 degrees. The controller again advised the pilot that he was to fly heading 220 degrees, to which he correctly read back the heading. The controller then asked the pilot if he was experiencing any problems with the airplane that prevented him from flying the assigned heading, to which he replied yeah and I’m currently, “…no gyro…” and I think the best thing for me is to climb a little bit and go to my alternate of ah Columbus or some point south.
The approach controller questioned the pilot about his ability to navigate to his alternate airport without gyros and he replied he could. The controller then cleared the flight to Columbus County Airport (CPC), and to climb and maintain 3,000 feet, which the pilot did not immediately acknowledge. The voice recording indicates a new controller established communication with the pilot and advised him the altitude was erratic and asked the pilot if he was OK. The pilot replied that he was not and the controller asked him if he wanted to fly to FAY Airport. The pilot began to state that the “…best thing” but the comment was truncated. The controller then asked the pilot if he could fly southwest bound and he advised “yeah southwest.” The controller then asked the pilot what heading he was flying and he advised 253 and his altitude was 2,500 trying to climb to 3,000. The controller then asked the pilot if he could do a non-gyro turn to which he replied he could. The controller advised the pilot to start a left turn and told him when to stop the left turn; however, the controller later advised the pilot that he never turned at all during the non-gyro turn instructions. The controller then asked the pilot if he could do a non-gyro approach to which he replied that he had, “done the drill before.” The controller asked the pilot that if during the first instrument approach was he picking up the glide slope and localizer to which he replied affirmative.
The controller then informed the pilot that they would again try an ILS approach to runway 4. The controller then asked the pilot his heading and he replied 268 degrees, to which the controller asked the pilot if the autopilot was flying the airplane or he was. The pilot’s reply was that he was. The controller then advised the pilot to fly southwest, and advised him that he had been flying southwest bound, but was now flying west bound. The controller asked the pilot if he could fly heading 200, to which he replied he could. The controller then asked the pilot if the airplane was equipped with a compass and reading off the cardinal headings, to which he replied affirmative. The controller then advised the pilot to fly south, which he acknowledged. Recorded radar data reflects the airplane proceeded in a southerly heading with no deviation noted. About 2 minutes 42 seconds later, the controller advised the pilot to fly heading 270 degrees, which he acknowledged. The radar data reflects the pilot turned to a westerly heading.
About 3 minutes 22 seconds later, the pilot was advised that the flight was 4 miles from the final approach fix, turn right heading northbound on the 010 and maintain 2,000 until established on the localizer, cleared for ILS approach to runway 4. The pilot read back, “…heading 010 maintain 2,000 cleared for the approach.” The radar reflects the airplane proceeded on a northerly then northeasterly heading and the controller then asked if the pilot was picking up the localizer, to which the pilot replied he was, and the controller then asked the pilot if he was picking up the glide slope to which the pilot advised he was not. The recorded radar data reflects a right turn, and about 18 seconds later, a loud squeal was heard on the frequency. There were no further recorded transmissions from the pilot despite numerous attempts by the controller to contact him..
One witness reported hearing a loud engine sound from a 4 cylinder engine then looked across I-95 and noted smoke from a wooded area. Another witness reported hearing the sound of the engine revved up, “like it was making a dive bomb run.” The witness did not see the airplane accident but reported that the airplane flew near his house. Another witness who was inside her residence reported hearing the airplane fly near her house and reported seeing smoke and flames from the accident. The witness then went outside and directed law enforcement to the accident site.
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