HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On June 5, 1995, at 0935 central daylight time, a Piper PA-23-160, N4187P, was destroyed while maneuvering near Palestine, Texas. The commercial pilot flight instructor, the private pilot rated multiengine student, and passenger were fatally injured. The aircraft was being operated by the owner/operator/private pilot student, under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from Palestine Municipal Airport at approximately 0900. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local training flight and a flight plan was not filed.
According to witnesses, the private pilot student was receiving dual instruction in preparation for his multiengine check ride, which was scheduled for the following day. The airplane was observed approaching runway 17. One witness, who lives on the approach end of the runway, reported that "the plane was flying a lot slower than they normally do and he was a lot lower than usual." The witness additionally observed that the airplane was flying at an angle with the "right wing more forward than the left wing."
The airplane was heard by a witness who was standing outside his hangar located 1100 feet east of runway 17 and at the mid point of that runway. He reports that "it struck me as odd how loud the sound was." The airplane flew by the hangar on an easterly heading and "not much higher than our hangar is tall." The witness further reported that the "left prop [was] not turning at all." The airplane began to "yaw to the left and roll to the left." The airplane impacted the ground 400 feet east of the hangar. See enclosed airport diagram.
The flight instructor, during the last four years, had flown in 73 different make/model airplanes, most of them as an instructor. He had flown this airplane at least twice in the previous month, but, the majority of his experience in this model was acquired 20 years ago, according to one friend who had researched his pilot logbooks.
The student pilot purchased the aircraft within the last 1 to 2 months. It was reported by friends that the student pilot, holder of a private pilot's certificate had planned to use the airplane for commuting to work once he had completed his multiengine training. He had been a licensed pilot since 1980, and, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records he had accumulated 339 hours of flight time up to December 1994. It could not be documented how much flight time he had accumulated since then.
The investigator-in-charge could not determine how much flight time had been accumulated on the aircraft since the last annual inspection. The FAA aircraft registration records did not reflect the new owner or a registration application being received from the current owner. The airframe and powerplant logbooks, except a few pages, were destroyed by the post impact fire.
The hydraulic system of this airplane is used for the extension and retraction of both the landing gear and flaps. There is one engine driven hydraulic pump which supplies pressure to the system and it is mounted on the left engine. Gear retraction and extension will occur in approximately 10 to 12 seconds.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest, on a heading of 150 degrees, in an open field on airport property. See the enclosed crash scene diagram for additional details. On-scene investigation revealed that the gear was up and engine control levers were full forward.
Examination of the engine control cables and flight control cables revealed continuity. The flap position, fuel selector position, any cockpit switch positions or any instrument readings could not be determined due to thermal damage from the post impact fire.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Autopsies were performed on the two pilots by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences at Dallas, Texas, on June 6, 1995. Toxicological tests were ordered and performed on both pilots, and all tests results were negative.
A post-impact fire destroyed the airplane. No evidence of pre- impact fire was found during the investigation.
TEST AND RESEARCH
An examination of both airplane's engines reveled no indications of anomalies that could have affected their performance.
An examination of both sets of propellers revealed that the right engine propeller exhibited physical evidence that it was under power at the time of impact (see enclosed engineering report). The left engine propeller did no exhibit physical evidence of rotation at the time of impact (see enclosed engineering report).
The airplane was released to the owner's representative.