On March 26, 2000, about 1315 Eastern Standard Time, a Piper PA28R-200, N55820, was destroyed when it impacted trees while landing at the Jake Arner Memorial Airport, Lehighton, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The airplane was on approach to Runway 26, a 3,000 foot-long, 50 foot-wide, asphalt runway.

A witness observed the accident, in a written statement he said:

"... I observed the plane make it's turn from base leg to final approach. The winds at this time were, in my estimation, about 20 knots with gusts to about 25-28 knots and from the north-northwest. The aircraft made what appeared to be a normal approach to runway 26, except it was obvious that the plane was being affected by the winds...The aircraft touched down hard on the runway and was still crabbed approximately 30 degrees into the wind when its tires touched down. The aircraft bounced about 10 feet into the air and the right wing was being lifted by the wind and the aircraft was being blown to the south side of the runway. I heard full power being applied to the engine, and the engine seemed to respond normally....The aircraft climbed slightly, just above some trees, however the right wing remained high, and the aircraft rolled to the left and descended into the trees inverted...."

The airplane came to rest inverted in a wooded area, about 1,000 feet beyond the approach end of Runway 26, and 625 feet to left of the runway centerline. Portions of the wreckage, which included the main cabin were consumed by a post crash fire.

The pilot stated he had no memory of the accident.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration did not reveal any pre-impact failures of the airframe or engine. It was noted that numerous branches and small trees in the path of the airplane exhibited fresh 45 degree cuts.

Winds reported at airports about 20 miles, east south-east, and 31 miles, south south-west of the accident site, were from 290 degrees at 16 knots with 21 knots gusts, and from 300 degrees at 22 knots with 30 knot gusts, respectively.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page