On March 15, 1993, at approximately 2115 central standard time, a Piper PA 23 160 multiengine airplane, N4341P, was substantially damaged during an instrument approach to Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport, Mena, Arkansas, when it impacted into a wooded area approximately 12 nautical miles northwest of the airport. The ATP rated pilot and one passenger received minor injuries. The other passenger received serious injuries. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The flight originated from Newport News, Virginia, with a planned intermediate stop in Tullahoma, Tennessee. The final destination was Mena, Arkansas. The pilot filed an IFR flight plan via radio with Little Rock Approach Control who handed him off to Memphis Center. At 2104, Memphis Center cleared the airplane to the Rich Mountain VORTAC for the VOR/DME A approach to Mena. The pilot was instructed to maintain 4,200 feet msl until reaching the Initial Approach Fix. This was the last radar contact. At 2108, the pilot reported his position as 6 miles from the VORTAC. The pilot radioed that he was starting the approach at 2115. No further radio contact with the pilot occurred.
The pilot made the following statements to the FAA inspector. When he initiated the approach the airplane was in instrument meteorological conditions with moderate turbulence, light to heavy rain showers, and strong winds out of the south. The pilot attempted the approach even without having DME equipment installed on the airplane. As he continued the approach, the airplane descended rapidly before it impacted into the wooded area. The pilot did not see the terrain until impact.