On January 19, 2001, about 1540 Eastern Standard Time, a Piper PA-46-350P, N747RC, was substantially damaged during an aborted take-off from Ross County Airport (RZT), Chillicothe, Ohio. The certificated private pilot, co-pilot, and passenger were not injured. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed and instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed for the business flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The co-pilot, a certificated airline transport pilot (ATP), and passenger were business associates of the private pilot. The passenger was the private pilot's business partner, and the co-pilot was employed within the company. The co-pilot was also the private pilot's former flight instructor, and flew with the private pilot when weather conditions were forecasted to be "hard IFR." The private pilot stated he was not comfortable flying IFR, and asked the co-pilot to fly along with him for safety purposes.
In a telephone conversation with the private pilot, he reported that he was co-owner of the airplane and used it to travel between job sites. On the morning of the accident, he flew into RZT between 0900 and 1000 to attend business meetings in the local area, and to have the airplane maintained. He later returned to the airport between 1300 and 1400, at which time, a heavy snow fall began. The private pilot reported that the snow fall was "coming down at a good pace."
Shortly after the private pilot arrived at the airport, the airplane was towed out of a heated hangar onto the ramp and fueled. After the airplane was fueled, the private pilot, co-pilot, and passenger got onboard. The private pilot started the engine and taxied to the end of Runway 23.
The private pilot parked the airplane and performed an engine run-up. After the run-up, both pilots used their cell phones to call Flight Service. The co-pilot reached the Elkins (West Virginia) automated flight service station (AFSS). He received a weather briefing, filed an IFR flight plan, and requested an IFR clearance. Since Elkins was not the primary AFSS for the Chillicothe, Ohio, area, the briefer placed the co-pilot on hold to service his request. During this time, the call was disconnected and the co-pilot had to call the FSS back. Due to the long hold time to talk to a new briefer, the co-pilot called the Indianapolis Center directly, and received an IFR clearance and void time. The private pilot stated this process took 45 minutes.
Once the IFR clearance was obtained, the private pilot performed another engine run-up. He also noted during this time, that about 3 to 4 inches of slush was on the runway, and about 1/2 to 3/4 inches of slush was spotted along the surface of both wings. The private pilot and co-pilot discussed if they should return to the ramp and wipe off the wings. Both pilots agreed that the slush would "blow-off" during the take-off roll, and it was not an issue. The private pilot stated that 3 minutes had elapsed since they had received the IFR clearance.
During the take-off roll, the private pilot stated that it took a long time to get to 80 knots (Vr), which was not typical. He estimated that he used about 4,500 feet of the 5,400 foot long runway to obtain 80 knots. When he pulled back on the control column, the airplane did not lift normally, and he stated to the co-pilot that "it did not feel right." He asked the co-pilot to feel the controls and confirm that it did not feel right. The co-pilot confirmed that it did not feel right.
At this point, the private pilot stated that he was rapidly running out of runway and was about 3 to 4 feet off the ground. He turned the aircraft to the right to avoid trees off the end of the runway. At the same time, he retarded the throttle, the airplane touched down, slid, turned, and came to rest upright facing the runway. He secured the airplane and all three men exited the airplane.
The pilot estimated that 1 hour had elapsed from the time the airplane was pulled from the hangar to the time of the accident.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector performed an on-site examination on January 19, 2001. Examination of the airplane revealed that the main landing gear were attached to the airframe, but were bent to the right. The nose gear was intact, and there was no damage to the engine or propeller. Both wing tips were bent, and the left aileron, flap, and wing exhibited impact damage. The fuselage was wrinkled along the area behind both wings.
The inspector also reported that both wings were covered with snow. Underneath the snow, he found localized areas of ice along the top surfaces of both wings near the trailing edge. The air intake and pitot tube were absent of debris.
According to the PA-46-350P Information Manual, pg 4-20 and 4-21, the pre-flight check of the left wing, right wing, and empennage surfaces should be "clear of ice, frost, snow or other extraneous substances." Also, Section 9, Supplement 6 of the manual, pg 9-51, stated, "the exterior surfaces of the aircraft should be checked prior to flight. Do not attempt flight with frost, ice, or snow adhering to the exterior surfaces of the aircraft or landing gear."
The pilot reported 672 total flight hours; 133 hours in make and model, and 72 hours of actual instrument time. In October 2000, he attended the Malibu initial pilot training course at SimCom in Florida.
The pilot also reported that there were no mechanical deficiencies.