NTSB Identification: CEN14FA230
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, May 05, 2014 in Northglenn, CO
Aircraft: PIPER PA 25-235, registration: N4519Y
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
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 May 5, 2014, at 1544 mountain daylight time, a Piper model PA-25-235 airplane, N4519Y, was destroyed when it impacted a residential structure and caught fire in Northglenn, Colorado. The commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to Airspeed Enterprises LLC and operated by Drag 'N' Fly Banners, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local banner-tow flight that departed Platte Valley Airpark (18V), Hudson, Colorado, about 1500.
The pilot reported that the purpose of the banner-tow flight was to orbit Coors Field, located downtown Denver, Colorado, with a commercial advertisement billboard that measured 27 feet by 50 feet. He stated that there were no anomalies identified during his preflight inspection of the airplane and that he held a briefing with his ground support team before departing on runway 15. He entered the traffic pattern for runway 9 and retrieved the banner at 1505. After retrieving the banner, the flight proceeded west from 18V, staying below the Class B airspace, toward I-25 where he turned southbound toward downtown Denver and Coors Field. The pilot stated that while en route the airplane was not performing as expected, with little to no climb performance, but the engine was operating without any anomalies. He reported that the airplane was at 6,100 feet mean sea level, about 700 feet above the ground, when he decided to return to his departure point by making a right 180-degree turn toward north. However, before completing the turn he released the banner because of an excessive descent rate. The pilot reported that the airplane accelerated slightly after he released the banner, but it was still operating near an aerodynamic stall, and about 10-15 seconds after he released the banner, the airplane entered a stall/spin at a low altitude. The pilot stated that the airplane descended, inverted, into a residential area and collided with a house. The pilot reported that following the accident he released his restraints and exited the airplane uninjured. A postaccident fire ensued that destroyed the airplane and significantly damaged the house. There were no reports of any ground injuries.
Numerous witnesses reported seeing the airplane flying at a low altitude before it dropped its banner and descended into a residential area. One witness reported that the airplane was flying at a slow groundspeed in a nose-up flight attitude before it descended into the residential area. Several witnesses remarked that the towed-banner nearly came in contact with the power-lines as the airplane crossed over Huron Street.
At 1536, the automated surface observing system (ASOS) located at Erie Municipal Airport (EIK), about 8 miles from the accident site, reported: wind from 170 degrees at 10 knots, gusting 20 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear sky, temperature 27 degrees Celsius, dew point -10 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.78 inches of mercury.
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