NTSB Identification: CEN13FA351
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 15, 2013 in La Pointe, WI
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-260, registration: N8815P
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 June 15, 2013, about 1828 central daylight time, a Piper PA-24-260 airplane, N8815P, impacted trees and terrain during a go-around from runway 22 at the Major Gilbert Field Airport (4R5), near La Pointe, Wisconsin. A post impact ground fire occurred. The pilot and pilot rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed during the impact and ground fire. The airplane was registered to and was operated by 8815 Papa LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual flight rules conditions (VFR) conditions prevailed for the flight, which did not operate on a VFR flight plan. The flight originated from the John F Kennedy Memorial Airport (ASX), near Ashland, Wisconsin, at time unknown.
The airplane was based at the La Crosse Municipal Airport (LSE), near La Crosse, Wisconsin. According to initial information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane departed from LSE at 1102. An entry in an airport visitor’s log at ASX showed that the pilot signed in on June 15, 2013, at time unknown. The entry showed that the flight was a recreational flight, which departed from LSE with two occupants on board. That entry did not have a destination listed. Airport fueling records at ASX were reviewed and no fuel services were rendered to the pilot representing N8815P.
A witness at 4R5 stated that he heard an airplane engine, heard "squealing," and heard sounds like screeching tires. He looked at the runway and saw the airplane bouncing “out of control” on the runway. It appeared that the airplane flew in from the north east and was attempting to land. The airplane subsequently "went to full throttle" and pitched up to about 45 degrees where it started climbing. The witness saw the airplane fly to the right and he thought it was going to circle around to attempt another landing. He turned around and subsequently heard an explosion. He looked back, saw a plume of black smoke, and called 911.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with an airplane single engine land and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot's most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on June 29, 2012. The pilot’s medical certificate had a limitation for corrective lenses. He reported that he had accumulated 1500 hours of total flight time at the time of the application for that medical certificate and that he had accumulated 50 hours of flight time during the six months prior to that application.
The pilot rated passenger held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land rating. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on June 6, 2006. His medical certificate had a limitation for corrective lenses for near vision. He reported that he had accumulated 280 hours of total flight time at the time of the application for that medical certificate and that he had accumulated 8 hours of flight time during the six months prior to that application.
N8815P, a 1965-model Piper PA-24-260 Comanche, with serial number 24-4270, was a low wing, single-engine, four-place monoplane, which had retractable tricycle landing gear. The airplane was constructed predominately of aluminum alloy materials. The airplane was powered by a Lycoming O-540, six-cylinder, reciprocating engine, marked with serial number L-2144-48. The engine drove a Hartzell, 3-bladed, all-metal, constant-speed propeller. The propeller was installed in accordance with supplemental type certificated SA288CH and was approved on major repair and alteration form dated October 14, 1997.
At 1753, the recorded weather at ASX, located about 16 nautical miles and 205 degrees from the accident site, was: wind calm; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition few clouds at 2,200 feet; temperature 21 degrees C; dew point 18 degrees C; altimeter 29.85 inches of mercury.
At 1833, the recorded weather at 4R5 was: temperature 62.5 degrees F; dew point 58.0 degrees F; altimeter 29.81 inches of mercury; wind south southwest at 3.0 mph; humidity 84 percent.
The airplane impacted a wooded area about one-half nautical mile southwest of runway 22’s threshold. Tree branches were broken in a linear path and that path downward through the trees was nearly vertical to where the airplane came to rest. The airplane came to rest inverted on a heading of about 40 degrees magnetic. The nose landing gear strut, its fork, and its tire and an outboard section of the right wing were found separated from the airplane. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site.
An on-scene examination of the wreckage was conducted. The center portion of the fuselage was melted, consumed, and deformed consistent with a ground fire. First responders cut control cables and marked them. All flight control cables were traced and flight control continuity was established. The throttle, propeller, and mixture controls were found in their forward position. The engine sump was melted. Engine control cables were connected to their respective throttle and mixture controls on the fuel servo and the propeller control cable was attached to its governor. The flap jackscrew measurement was consistent with a 10-degree flap extended setting. The landing gear cable extension measurements were consistent with extended landing gear. One landing gear tire was melted and the other two landing gear tires did not exhibit any abrasions or flat spots. The magnetos and vacuum pump were melted and deformed. The propeller hub was attached to the engine and all three propeller blades exhibited ground tips consistent with contact with the runway. Due to impact and fire damage, the total fuel quantity on board the airplane at the time of the accident could not be confirmed.
Runway 22 was examined. The surface of the runway, about one tenth of a nautical mile from the start of its threshold, exhibited witness slash marks consistent with contact with the propeller. The path of the witness marks proceeded down the runway just left of centerline and the marks migrated to the right. A white colored media transfer was also found on the runway. The media transfer path approximated the path of the slash marks. There were no trails of landing gear tire witness marks associated with the path of the slash marks and media transfer marks.
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