NYC96LA034
NYC96LA034

On December 3, 1995, about 1700 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-140, N1945H, registered to We Rent Aircraft Inc., Grove City, Ohio, and operating as a 14 CFR Part 91, personal flight, was substantially damaged during a precautionary landing in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the flight which originated at Patrick Henry Airport, Newport News, Virginia, about 1330. The private pilot and passenger received serious injuries.

The flight was destined for Lancaster, Ohio, and the pilot stated:

...before reaching [the] mountains, the only nav system (VOR) failed (only one vor in plane) no NDB or LORAN. Heading was 285, wind must have increased and pushed aircraft north in clouds in excess of 8000 feet, which was given at briefing...descended at 2G9 [Somerset County], unable to locate airport...due to rain and approaching darkness and low fuel, attempted to land in open field...rolled uphill and over and was airborne again. Speed increased and overshot field across road and flipped over when hit embankment.

The pilot had elected to perform a precautionary landing to an open field, which was estimated to be 2,500 feet long, and was located about 2 miles north of the Somerset Airport.

The FAA examination of the crash site and airplane revealed that the airplane touched down approximately "two-thirds" of the way down the grass field, at a "higher than normal landing speed." Approximately "four to five" gallons of fuel were drained from the fuel tanks.

The 1700 observation from the Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) at Somerset Airport, recorded the following: a ceiling of 1600 feet overcast, visibility of 3.5 miles, and winds from 260 degrees, at 10 knots.

According to the pilot, the reported local weather was; 4,000 overcast, visibility 5 miles, temperature 40 degrees F, winds from 180 degrees, at 10 knots, gusts to 15 knots, altimeter 29.95.

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