On September 17, 2006, about 1005 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140 N560DH, piloted by a certified flight instructor (CFI), sustained substantial damage when it impacted trees and terrain near Prospect Heights, Illinois, during takeoff from runway 24 at the Palwaukee Municipal Airport (PWK), near Wheeling, Illinois. The pilot reported a loss of engine power. The instructional flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The CFI and student pilot sustained minor injuries. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The CFI's accident report, in part, stated:

1) Normal pre-flight
2) Normal before takeoff procedures
3) Normal takeoff ...
4) At approximately 150 [feet above ground level] engine
began developing less than full power.
5) Unable to maintain altitude.
6) Maneuvered to avoid houses and property.
7) Last choice available - fly into tree.
8) Aircraft substantial damage.
9) Occupants uninjured.
10) No damage to persons or property on ground other than tree.

The student pilot's accident report stated:

We did a preflight check. Got clearance to taxi to runway 24. While
we waited for takeoff we checked magnetos, carburetor heat and all
the instruments according to the check list. Everything was good. CFI
checked magnetos and carburetor heat one more time. We contacted
Tower and were cleared to "position and hold rwy 24". Once we got
to the "position", we visually checked all the instruments. Everything
was working good. After Tower cleared us for takeoff I applied full
throttle and aircraft started normal takeoff. Rpm's were [about] 2,500.
Once we got [about] 2000 ft rwy 24 we were going at [about] 70 - 75 mph.
I gently pulled the yoke and the plane started to climb. We were
climbing at [about] 75-80 mph. At [about 150 feet above ground
level] aircraft stopped climbing and CFI took over the controls. He
checked the throttle, made sure it was fully applied. At that point aircraft
was slowing down and loosing airspeed, altitude. Rpm's dropped to
[about] 2300. Carburetor heat was not used during a flight.

Once on the ground CFI was turned off all the electronics and I knocked
out the window with a towbar. We got out to safety.


The CFI held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land rating. He held commercial pilot privileges for airplane single-engine land. He held a CFI certificate with airplane single-engine, airplane multiengine, and instrument airplane ratings. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records showed that certified flight instructor certificate was issued on June 17, 2006. He held a flight engineer certificate with a turbojet powered rating. He held Boeing 727, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Embraer EMB 110, and Lockheed L-188 Electra type ratings.

The CFI reported an estimated total aircraft flight time of 21,000 hours, of which a total of 100 hours were in the incident make and model. Of those 100 hours, 70 were reported as pilot in command time and 60 were reported as instructor flight time. The pilot held a first-class medical certificate dated June 9, 2006, with limitations for corrective lenses.

The student pilot held a third-class medical and student pilot certificate dated September 12, 2006. The student pilot was reported to have accumulated 7 hours of total flight time.


N560DH was a 1973 Piper PA-28-140, Cherokee, serial number 28-7325560, single-engine, low-wing airplane. The accident airplane was one of two Cherokee airplanes, operated by the registered owner, which were based at PWK as rental/instructional airplanes. The airplane was powered by 150-horsepower Lycoming O-320-E3D engine, serial number L-33945-27A. It was equipped with a fixed-pitch Sensenich propeller. The airplane underwent an annual inspection on August 1, 2006. The total airframe time recorded at the annual inspection was 5,109.11 hours. The airplane underwent a 100-hour inspection on September 8, 2006. The total airframe times recorded at the 100-hour inspection was 5,206.21 hours. The pilot reported the airplane contained 39 gallons of fuel.


At 0952, the recorded PWK weather was: Wind 210 degrees at 11 knots gusting to 14 knots; visibility 7 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 22 degrees C; dew point 16 degrees C; altimeter 29.81 inches of mercury.

At 1014, the recorded PWK weather was: Wind 210 degrees at 8 knots; visibility 7 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 22 degrees C; dew point 16 degrees C; altimeter 29.80 inches of mercury.


The East Central U. S. Airport/Facility Directory showed that PWK was a controlled airport with air traffic control tower. The airport had an elevation of 647 feet mean sea level and was served by runways 16-34, 12-30, and 06-24. Runway 16-34 was a 5,001 foot by 150 foot grooved asphalt runway. Runway 12-30 was a 4,397 foot by 50 foot asphalt runway. Runway 06-24 was a 3,652 foot by 50 foot asphalt runway.


The airplane came to rest on its left side between trees in a residential neighborhood near the intersection of Claire Lane and Thierry Lane in Prospect Heights, Illinois. The airplane's left wing was detached and was found to the rear of the empennage. The leading edge of the right wing, inboard of its landing gear, was crushed and deformed rearward. That rearward deformation occupied the space that the main cabin door swings over to open. The leading edge of the left wing had areas of rearward crushing and deformation inboard and outboard of its landing gear. The airplane's fuel tanks contained a liquid consistent with aviation gasoline. The window, to the left of where the student pilot sat, was broken out.

FAA inspectors performed an on-scene examination of the wreckage. A representative from Textron Lycoming assisted in the examination. The engine rotated and a thumb compression was noted at each cylinder. Borescope inspection of each cylinder revealed no anomalies were found. Both magnetos produced spark at all leads. The carburetor heat lever was found in the off position. Disassembly inspection of the carburetor revealed a liquid consistent with aviation gasoline. No airframe and engine pre-impact anomalies were detected.


The main cabin door was unable to be opened by the pilots after the accident. The student pilot used a tow bar to break out the window to his left.


The local temperature and dew point at the time of the accident were plotted on a Transport Canada carburetor-icing chart. The chart is appended to the docket material associated with this case. Their intersection fell in the moderate icing-cruise power or serious icing-descent power area.


The parties to the investigation included the FAA and Textron Lycoming.

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