NTSB Identification: ERA14FA162
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 22, 2014 in Safety Harbor, FL
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-181, registration: N8309L
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.
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 March 22, 2014, about 0400 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-181, N8309L, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged when it collided with powerlines, during a forced landing to a highway in Safety Harbor, Florida, near Saint Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE), Clearwater, Florida. The private pilot and a passenger were fatally injured and one passenger was seriously injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned flight to PIE. The flight departed John C Tune Airport (JWN), Nashville, Tennessee about 2338 eastern daylight time on March 21, 2014. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
According to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was in radio and radar contact with air traffic control (ATC) as it approached PIE. The pilot subsequently reported a fuel emergency and the airplane impacted powerlines about 6 miles north of PIE.
The wreckage came to rest upright, nose-down, oriented on a southeasterly heading, on a highway beneath the powerlines. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The engine and cockpit area were crushed inward and the cabin roof had separated. The cabin roof, where the top of the cockpit door met the cabin, exhibited an impact mark consistent with a wire strike. The impact mark was a similar size to an approximate 1.25-inch-thick aluminum powerline that had separated during the impact, causing a power outage in the area. The aluminum power line had been located about 160 feet above the highway.
The leading edge of the left wing exhibited impact damage. The left main fuel tank remained intact and approximately 4 ounces of fuel were recovered from it by an FAA inspector. The left aileron and flap remained attached. The right wing was undamaged with the exception of a partial separation of the right flap and the right fuel tank was compromised at its fuel drain. During recovery, the FAA inspector observed some drops of fuel dripping from the right tank. The fuel selector was found positioned to the left main fuel tank.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on October 31, 2013. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 1,549 hours.
A handheld Garmin 496 GPS was recovered from the wreckage and retained for further examination.
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