HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On Sunday, November 28, 1993, about 1610 eastern standard time, N707JS, a Piper PA32R-301, collided with a tree and a house during an ILS aproach about 5 miles southeast of the Butler County Airport, Butler, Pennsylvania. The airplane was being operated by the pilot/owner. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The certificated private pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The local, personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR 91, and originated in Butler, Pennsylvania at an undetermined time.
According to witnesses, the pilot departed earlier the afternoon of the accident for the local flight. The witnesses further reported that visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the departure. According to the witnesses and weather information provided by the FAA, instrument meteorological conditions existed during the pilot's instrument approaches and at the time of the accident.
According to recorded communications between the pilot and FAA controllers, the pilot first contacted Pittsburgh Approach about 15 miles east of the airport. The air traffic controller advised the pilot that the leading edge of the weather was about 6 to 8 miles west of the airport. About 3 miles from the airport, the controller advised the pilot that radar service was terminated. At that time, the pilot said he was in the clouds and requested to remain under ATC control. The controller provided radar vectors and cleared the pilot for an ILS approach. The pilot did not report that he had landed. The controller attempted to re- establish radio contact with the pilot. When communications were re-established, the pilot was provided with vectors for a second ILS approach. The controller cleared the pilot for the approach and during the approach, radar contact and radio communications were lost.
Radar data recorded at the FAA Pittsburgh Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) were obtained for the accident aircraft. The radar data provide the latitude, longitude, and the altitude of the airplane. The radar data indicate the airplane's headings and altitude were "erratic" during this phase of flight. Details of the study are attached to this report.
Several witnesses in the vicinity of the accident site were interviewed. One of the witnesses reported that it was snowing heavily with low visibility. She stated that she did not see the airplane, but "it sounded like a chain saw with the power surging off and on." Other witnesses reported that they hear airplanes fly over their homes frequently, but this one was so low that it "shook the house." The airplane struck a 50 foot tree initially before colliding with a house. The house and airplane were destroyed as a result of the collision and a post-impact fire.
The accident occurred during the hours of darkness about 40 degrees 46 minutes north latitude and 80 degrees 5 minutes west longitude.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with single and multi-engine land ratings and instrument rating. According to the pilot's log book, he had logged over 3792 hours of total flight time including 2 hours of actual instrument flight time.
The 1985 year model Piper PA-32R-301 airplane, serial no. 32R- 8513014 was equipped with a Lycoming IO-540-K1G5D engine, serial no. L-22750-48A. According to the last repair order the airplane had accumulated over 1080 hours of total flight time. This time was recorded on the last work order. The last 100 hour inspection was completed on July 12, 1993. The aircraft and engine log books were not located.
The 1616 hours surface weather observation for Butler County Airport, about 5 miles northeast of the accident site was as follows:
"Ceiling, 500 feet obscured; visibility, one half mile in fog and blowing snow; temperature, 33 degrees (F); dew point, 29 degrees (F); wind condition, 250 degrees at 8 knots gusting to 17 knots; and altimeter 29.78 inches."
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The aircraft struck a 50 foot tree initially before colliding with the house. The right wing, with its respective landing gear, was located about 10 feet from the main wreckage. Examination of the brake assembly of the right main gear contained fragments of tree bark. The wreckage was oriented on a 100 degree magnetic bearing and was located in the basement of the house. The airplane was destroyed by fire.
Examination of the wreckage was not possible due to fire damage. The house collapsed on top of the airplane and it was also destroyed by fire. After portions of the house were removed to access the airplane, the remains of the airplane were retrieved from the basement. Sections of the fuselage, stabilizer, and the engine were removed. The propeller hub separated from the engine. One of the propeller blades separated from the hub.
The engine was removed to the Butler County Airport on November 29, 1993. Examination of the engine was completed on November 30, 1993. The examination revealed that all six cylinders remained attached to the crankcase. All the engine accessories were destroyed by fire. The number two cylinder was removed, as well as the bottom six spark plugs. Removal of the cylinder revealed its piston was intact. Due to the damage of the engine no further tests could be performed.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A medical and toxicological examination were not performed.
The wreckage was released to Kyle D. Moore, the Claims Manager for the pilot's insurance company on November 30, 1993.