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On October 1, 2000, about 1200 Eastern Daylight Time, a Piper PA-32-300, N3039Y, was substantially damaged while landing at Seven Springs Airport (7SP), Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot and two passengers were seriously injured, and a third passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight that originated from Wood County Airport (PKB), Parkersburg, West Virginia. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
A witness, who was riding his bicycle along a path adjacent to the runway, saw the airplane approach Runway 28. The airplane did not seem aligned with the runway during the approach. It touched down on the runway, but did not seem "steady". The engine revved and the airplane became airborne again. It then touched down off to the left side of the runway, onto the grass. The engine revved a second time, and the airplane became airborne, as if it was going to takeoff again. However, the airplane did not clear trees off the right side of the runway. After impacting the trees, it came to rest at the bottom of a steep drop-off, about 70 feet below the runway.
The pilot suffered head injuries, and did not recall the accident.
The accident occurred during the hours of daylight: located approximately 40 degrees, 00 minutes north longitude; and 79 degrees, 19 minutes west latitude.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with ratings for single engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical certificate was issued on June 29, 1999.
The pilot reported a total flight experience of 692 hours; of which, 71 hours were in the make and model accident airplane.
The airplane had been operated for approximately 222 hours since the last annual inspection, performed on February 5, 2000.
7SP was located about 1 mile southwest of Seven Springs Borough, Pennsylvania. The airport was 2,907 feet above mean-sea-level. The single asphalt runway (10/28) was 3,045 feet long, and 45 feet wide.
The reported weather at an airport approximately 16 miles north of the accident site, at 1145, was: wind calm; visibility 15 miles; few clouds at 3,000 feet; scattered clouds at 25,000 feet; temperature 71 degrees Fahrenheit; dewpoint 46 degrees; altimeter 30.16 inches hg.
The reported wind at an airport approximately 35 miles southwest of the accident site, at 1153, was calm.
The reported wind at an airport approximately 50 miles northwest of the accident site, at 1153, was from 170 degrees at 7 knots. At the same airport, the reported winds aloft at 0800 was 225 degrees at 10 knots, at 2,736 feet.
Examination of the accident site revealed three ground scars consistent with tail-strikes. Two of the ground scars were on the runway, and the other was on the grass off to the left side of the runway. Several tire skid marks were observed in the vicinity of the tail-strikes. A tree branch was found near the wreckage. It was approximately 18 inches long, and contained fresh 45-degree cuts at both ends.
All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident scene. The left wing was separated at the wing root. The bellcrank was separated from it's attach point, and flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit area to the bellcrank. The left aileron was deflected upward, and the flap was displaced approximately 180 degrees downward. Both fuel tanks in the left wing were compromised. Several impact marks were observed on the leading edge, consistent with tree-strikes, and the top of the wing was buckled.
The right wing was also separated at the wing root. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit area to the wing root, and then from the bellcrank to the right aileron. Where the control cables had separated, the ends of the cables displayed a broom-straw shape, consistent with tension overload. The right aileron was deflected upward, and the flap was displaced approximately 90 degrees downward. Both fuel tanks in the right wing were compromised. Several impact marks were observed on the leading edge, consistent with tree-strikes, and the top of the wing was buckled.
The left side of the fuselage displayed impact damage. Both the horizontal stabilator and vertical stabilizer contained impact marks consistent with tree-strikes. The elevator trim was found in a "neutral" to "nose down" position. Flight control continuity was established from the elevator and rudder to the cockpit area. There was less impact damage along the right side of the fuselage.
The cockpit area was intact. The flap handle and linkage corresponded to a flaps retracted setting. The throttle and propeller levers were in the full forward position, and the mixture was mid-range. The fuel selector was selected to the left main tank position. The elevator trim wheel was in a "nose down" position. Seatbelts were observed on all six seats, but shoulder harnesses were only installed on the front two seats.
One propeller blade exhibited chordwise scratching, and the other exhibited leading edge gouging. The valve covers were removed from the engine for examination. When the crankshaft was rotated by hand, crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity was confirmed. Thumb compression was attained on all six cylinders. The spark plugs were removed and inspected. Their electrodes were intact and light gray in color. When the crankshaft was rotated by hand, the right magneto produced a spark at all leads. The left magneto was removed and rotated by hand. It produced spark at all six towers.
During the examination, fuel was found in the fuel lines, fuel manifold, and the engine driven fuel pump.
Toxicological testing was performed on the pilot by Memorial Medical Center, Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
The wreckage was released to a representative from the owner's insurance company on October 6, 2000.