On June 21, 2001, at 1805 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-300, N5659V, operated by a commercial pilot, sustained substantial damage when during a practice instrument approach to runway 34 (4,100 feet by 100 feet, dry concrete) at the Plattsmouth Municipal Airport, Plattsmouth, Nebraska, the airplane impacted the terrain. Prior to the accident, the airplane's engine lost power. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The instructional flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. A military visual flight rules plan was on file. The instructor pilot and dual student on board both reported minor injuries. The cross-country flight originated at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, at 1700, and was filed to terminate there. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In his written statement, the instructor pilot said that the student pilot was flying a practice non-directional beacon (NDB) approach to runway 34. "During the procedure turn we started descending ..." The instructor pilot said that the student pilot turned left to the inbound heading of 354 degrees. "I called Omaha approach and they approved a switch to Plattsmouth advisory." The instructor pilot said that while he changed radio frequencies, the student pilot descended to the minimum descent altitude (MDA) for the approach of 1,820 feet mean sea level. "At 7 DME (distance measuring equipment) I made the radio call to Plattsmouth advisory." The student pilot performed his pre-landing checklist at 5 DME. The gear came down, and the student pilot told the instructor pilot that he turned on the boost pump and switched tanks. The instructor pilot said, "I did not actually see him do this, but looked over and saw the fuel pump on and the fuel selector switched over to the left tank. The engine instruments all looked normal." The instructor pilot said there was another airplane waiting to takeoff on runway 34 that told them he would wait for them to land. "I responded that we were three miles out and making a full stop landing. We were a little slow at about 80 knots and just below MDA ..." The instructor pilot said that 1 mile out, he would tell the student pilot to remove his goggles and have him execute a go around. "At 1.8 DME, the manifold pressure and RPMs dropped, and the airplane nosed down." The instructor pilot said that he pushed the control levers full forward and told the student pilot to run the emergency checklist. "...our speed was still only about 80 and it was obvious we were not going to make the runway. We picked up a little speed, but even best glide wouldn't get us to the runway - we were too low for that. I looked for the best possible landing site straight ahead between us and the runway." The instructor pilot said that he moved the throttle up and down twice. He said that it seemed very loose. There was no response from the engine. The engine sounded like it was still running. The instructor pilot said they kept the flaps up so they could stretch the glide to clear a tree line. On the other side of the tree line they saw a fence with large fence posts in their path. "We both got on the controls and pulled us over the fence. On the other side the terrain angled up. We flared, the stall warning sounded, the mains hit the ground and then it seemed like the nose wheel hit hard."
A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the airplane at the accident site. The airplane was resting upright in a field approximately 1/2 mile south of the approach end to runway 34. The airplane's left wing was bent upward and aft at the fuselage attach bolts. The outer portion of the left wing's leading edge was bent inward. The right wing's leading edge near the wing tip was bent inward and down. The left side of the fuselage at the wing root was crushed upward and buckled outward. The bottom cowling and forward fuselage were crushed upward, bent left, and aft. The engine mounts and engine were bent left. Both of the propeller blades were bent slightly aft. The nose gear and left main landing gear were collapsed and broken aft. Flight control continuity was confirmed. The airplane's engine was retained for further examination.
The airplane's engine was examined at Omaha, Nebraska, on June 29, 2001. The engine was successfully run on a test stand and showed no anomalies.