ATL05FAMS1
ATL05FAMS1

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 20, 2005 at 1110 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-23, N6886Y, registered to and operated by the commercial pilot, never arrived at its intended destination after departing from the Treasure Cay International Airport, Abaco Island, Bahamas enroute to Ft. Pierce, Florida. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and instrument flight rules. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an IFR Flight Plan was filed. The pilot and two passengers are presumed dead and the airplane is presumed to have sustained substantial damage. The flight originated from the Treasure Cay International Airport, Abaco Island, Bahamas VFR on June 20, 2005, at an undetermined time.

At 1016, the pilot contacted the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZMA) after departure from the Treasure Cay airport, and requested IFR clearance to Fort Pierce, Florida. The ZMA controller radar identified the airplane and issued clearance to Fort Pierce via direct Freeport, direct Fort Pierce, at 10,000 feet. The airplane traveled west along Grand Bahamas Island until reaching Freeport, and then turned northwest toward Fort Pierce.

At 1032 the ZMA controller advises the pilot to contact ZMA center frequency 132.95, which was acknowledged by the pilot. The pilot then proceeds to check in on the same frequency (134.2), but does not hear the ZMA controller responding. This happens about four times over the next four minutes.

At 1036, the pilot again calls ZMA on frequency 134.2, but now hears ZMA answering. The ZMA controller advises the pilot what has been occurring with the frequency change problem and again advises the pilot to contact ZMA on frequency 132.95, and the pilot acknowledges.

At 1052, The ZMA controller advises the pilot to contact ZMA on ZMA frequency 132.15, and the pilot acknowledges.

At 1053, the pilot contacts ZMA on frequency 132.15, and advises level at 10,000 feet. The ZMA controller acknowledges and issued the pilot the Palm Beach altimeter setting of 30.01 and the pilot acknowledges.

At 1105, the pilot calls the ZMA controller and advises that they are in severe turbulence and requests help out of the weather. The controller advises the pilot that the aircraft was in an area of heavy precipitation and should be exiting at any moment. There was no response from the pilot.

At 1106, the ZMA controller advises the pilot that it appears that the aircraft is coming into a clear area and when able, descend and maintain 9,000 feet. An unknown aircraft advises that the clearance is blocked and the ZMA controller reissues the clearance. There is no acknowledgement from the pilot. The ZMA controller attempts to contact the pilot several times with no response.

According to preliminary radar data the airplane was last observed on radar at Longitude 27-degrees and 03 minutes North and 079-degrees 35 minutes west. A search and rescue operation conducted by the United States Coast Guard found no evidence of the airplane during their search. Search and rescue operations were suspended by the Coast Guard on June 21, 2005.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

A review of information on file with the Federal Aviation Administration Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a commercial pilot certificate with rating for airplane single engine land and sea, multi-engine land and instrument airplane. A review of records on file with the FAA Aero Medical Records revealed the pilot held a second class medical certificate issued on February 17, 2005, with no restrictions. The pilot reported on his application for the medical certificate that he had accumulated 2,800 total flight hours.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Piper PA-23-250, S/N 27-4236, was a six seat, twin engine, low wing, retractable tricycle landing gear airplane. A review of maintenance records revealed that the annual inspection was completed on January 17,2005, at an airframe total time of 6,766.2 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At the time and in the area of the accident a National Weather Service Convective SIGMET (Convective SIGMET 29E) for a developing area of thunderstorms with tops to FL450 was in effect. The area of developing thunderstorms were moving from 230-degrees at 25 knots.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane was not recovered.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The pilot and passengers were not recovered.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The airplane was a visual flight rules departure that left Abaco Island en route to Fort Pierce, Florida, and requested an IFR clearance from Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). During interview of the air traffic controllers at the Miami ARTCC it was revealed that the first controller to handle the airplane issued the clearance as requested, and during the period that the airplane was on frequency broadcast SIGMET information relevant to the airplane's route of flight. However, a review of the communications transcript showed that the pilot was having communication difficulties. The airplane was eventually transferred to another controller, and continued with that controller until the accident occurred. Both controllers stated that they observed precipitation return in the vicinity of the airplane's route. However, the pilot was never advised of these observations.

FAA order 7110.65, "Air Traffic Control," paragraph 2-6-4, "Weather and Chaff Services," states: 2-6-4. WEATHER AND CHAFF SERVICES

A. Issue pertinent information on observed/reported weather or chaff areas. Provide radar navigational guidance and/or approve deviations around weather or chaff areas when requested by the pilot. Do not use the word "turbulence" in describing radar-derived weather.

1.Issue weather and chaff information by defining the area of coverage in terms of azimuth (by referring to the 12-hour clock) and distance from the aircraft or by indicating the general width of the area and the area of coverage in terms of fixes or distance and direction from fixes.
2.Issue the level of echo intensity when that information is available.
3.When equipment limitations exist, controllers shall, at a minimum, ensure that the highest available level of echo intensity within their area of jurisdiction is displayed.
4.When a deviation cannot be approved as requested and the situation permits, suggest an alternative course of action.

B. In areas of significant weather, plan ahead and be prepared to suggest, upon pilot request, the use of alternative routes/altitudes. {New-2004-12 1-1-3 Note Revised February 19, 2004} NOTE 3 states: Weather significant to the safety of aircraft includes such conditions as tornadoes, lines of thunderstorms, embedded thunderstorms, large hail, wind shear, microburst, moderate to extreme turbulence (including CAT), and light to severe icing.

C. Inform any tower for which you provide approach control services if you observe any weather echoes on radar, which might affect their operations. The Miami Center is equipped with digital weather display capability that is designed to show levels 2 through 6 on the NWS VIP scale, and the Miami controller had both extent and intensity information available to him.




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