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On April 9, 2007, at 0030 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32RT-300T, N21423, registered to a private owner, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight collided with power and cable TV lines and the ground during a visual approach to Runway 8 at Andrews Murphy Airport, Andrews, North Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions (VFR) prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The pilot had cancelled his IFR clearance before making a VFR descent for landing. A post crash fire destroyed the airplane. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. Another pilot rated passenger received serious injuries. The flight originated from Orlando Executive Airport, Orlando, Florida, , on April 8, 2007, at 2121.
The pilot rated passenger stated the pilot cancelled IFR with Atlanta Center. The pilot continued with a VFR descent to Runway 08. The pilot rated passenger informed the pilot, "I like to fly my approach high." The pilot stated either, "I have the approach lights or I' am on the VASI." The pilot rated passenger asked the pilot a short time later, "Why are we off to the left of the runway," and the pilot replied, "Because we are going to crash." When the pilot rated passenger was asked if he remembered the airplane colliding with the wires, ground, post crash fire, or exiting the airplane, he stated no. When asked if the airplane experienced any mechanical problems, he stated no.
A witness stated he was listening to a radio scanner and observed the airplane out his bedroom window. The airplane was heading towards Andrews Murphy Airport. The witness stated he heard the pilot state on the radio frequency that he was on a seven mile final for Runway 08. He also heard a "clicking noise" over the radio, and informed his wife that the pilot was turning on the runway lights at the airport.
Another witness who lives south of the airport stated he went outside his home to smoke a cigarette. He observed an airplane descending towards the Andrews Murphy Airport. The airplane was about 100 feet west of his home in a descent. The airplane started a right turn towards the runway in the vicinity of Team Industry. The airplane landing light, navigation lights, and strobe lights were illuminated. The witness observed the runway lights come on and could see the red lights off the approach end of the runway. A decrease in engine power was heard followed by an increase in engine power. The witness stated it appeared the pilot overshot the runway and collided with the power lines to the left of the runway. The witness observed an electrical flash followed by a fire after the airplane collided with the ground.
A witness who was working at Team Industry located off the approach end of Runway 08 stated he observed an airplane on final for Andrews Murphy Airport. The witness observed the landing light, strobe lights, and the navigation lights were on. The airplane passed overhead and he heard a decrease in engine power as if the pilot was landing. A short time later there was a total loss of electrical power at his work site.
Another witness who lives adjacent to the airport was in bed and heard a noise similar to lightning. The witness got up, looked outside his window, and observed a fire adjacent to his driveway. His wife called the 911 emergency operators and reported a brush fire. The operator informed his wife there had been a plane crash. The witness went to the crash site to assist and observed a man on fire crawling on the ground. The witness instructed the man to roll over in the dirt to put the fire out. Law enforcement and emergency personnel arrived and took charge of the accident site.
Review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a private pilot certificate on August 6, 2006, with ratings for airplane single engine land. The private pilot was issued an airplane instrument rating on March 21, 2007. Review of records on file with the FAA Aero Medical Records revealed the pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on May 4, 2006, with no restrictions. The pilot reported on his application for the medical certificate that he had accumulated 75 total flight hours. The pilot's last flight review was conducted on March 21, 2007. The pilot's logbook was not located. According to friends of the family the deceased pilot kept his logbook in the airplane. The logbook is presumed to have been destroyed by the post crash fire.
Review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot rated passenger was issued a private pilot certificate on April 28, 2006, with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. Review of records on file with the FAA Aero Medical Records revealed the pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on July 21, 2005, with no restrictions. The pilot reported on his application for the medical certificate that he had accumulated 800 total flight hours. The passenger stated in an interview with the NTSB that he has 1,000 total flight hours, and his last flight review was conducted two weeks before the accident in his PA-28.
Examination of the airplane logbooks revealed the last annual inspection was conducted on April 24, 2006.The tachometer time at the time of the annual inspection was 2,480.1 hours. The engine had accumulated 355.10 hours since the last major overhaul. The engine was overhauled on November 15, 2000; at Textron Lycoming and the total time since new was 2,125.0 hours. In July of 2003, the engine was disassembled, inspected, and repaired by Power Aviation due to a propeller strike. The engine was reinstalled on the airplane on August 11, 2003. The last entry in the engine logbook was on March 2, 2007. The Hobbs meter was 1,403.5 hours and the tachometer was 2,850.3 hours. The engine had accumulated 725.3 hours since major overhaul and 370.2 hours since the last annual inspection. The Hobbs meter and tachometer were destroyed and the total engine time, time since annual inspection, and time since major overhaul could not be determined. The last altimeter, static system inspection, and transponder inspection was conducted on August 15, 2006. The airplane was topped off with 47.6 gallons of 100-low lead fuel on April 8, 2007, at Sheltair Aviation Services, Orlando, Florida.
The Andrews Murphy Airport, Andrews, North Carolina, 0021 surface weather observation was: wind calm, visibility 10 miles, clear, temperature 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 17.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter 30.10. Sunset was at 2003 and moonrise was at 0203.
Andrews Murphy County Airport, Andrews, North Carolina, is located 2 miles west of Andrews, North Carolina. The airport is surrounded by high terrain and the field elevation is 1,697 feet. Runway 08 and Runway 26 are 5,500 feet long and 100 feet wide. Runway 08 has a 2 light PAPI visual glide slope indicator and was in operation at the time of the accident. Atlanta Center is the controlling Air Route Traffic Control Center. The minimum sector altitude is 7,700 feet for a 25 mile radius around MIRINE, and the minimum vectoring altitude is 5,500 feet. The minimum obstruction clearance altitude on the L20 en-route chart from the south towards HARRIS VOR is 7,000 feet.
The FAA inspected Runway 08 after the accident. There was no physical evidence to indicate the accident touched down on the ground before the overrun, on the overrun, on the runway, or in the grass to the left of Runway 08. The Airport Manager for Andrews Murphy Airport reported no deficiencies with the airport lighting system on April 8, 2007, or April 9, 2007, before the airplane accident.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage of N21423 was located adjacent to a driveway of a private residence located at 5359 Airport Road and 482 feet north of Runway 08 centerline at Andrews Murphy Airport, Andrews, North Carolina.
Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane collided with two power lines and a cable TV line that parallel Airport Road on a heading of 330-degrees magnetic. The left wing collided with Airport Road and pieces of broken red navigation light were present on the road. The nose of the airplane impacted the ground 55 feet from the wire strike and a 1-foot deep crater was present on the ground. Three propeller marks were present on the ground measuring 11 inches between the first and second propeller mark and 13 inches between the second and third propeller mark. The airplane continued forward 41 feet and came to rest on its left side on a heading of 300-degrees magnetic. The crash debris line extended for 96 feet.
The engine assembly was on its left side. The upper and lower engine cowling was intact and fire damaged. Wire marks were present on the engine cowling 4 inches below the propeller spinner, and on the left engine cowling outboard of the engine air inlet. The engine cowling was removed and the engine was examined.
The engine assembly remained attached to all engine mounts and was fire damaged. The engine mounts remained attached to the engine firewall and were fire damaged. All engine accessories remained attached to the engine assembly. The aft mounted engine accessories were fire damaged. The electrical wiring harness was fire damaged and all flexible fluid lines aft of the engine were fire damaged. The throttle control at the fuel servo was at the full throttle position. The mixture control was three-eighths of an inch from the full rich stop. The propeller control at the propeller governor was one-half inch from the high rpm stop. The nose landing gear remained attached to the engine mounts, and the nose landing gear was in the extended position. The nose landing gear linkage was separated.
The propeller assembly remained attached to the propeller crankshaft flange. The propeller spinner remained attached to the propeller spinner back plate. Wire marks were present on the propeller spinner and propeller spinner-back plate. Gouges and indentations were present on the trailing edge of the propeller spinner.
One propeller blade remained attached to the propeller hub and was bent aft at mid span. The propeller blade was twisted towards the non-cambered side of the propeller blade. Nicks and gouges were present on the propeller leading edge and propeller tip. Chord wise scarring was present 10 inches inboard of the propeller tip on the cambered side of the propeller blade. In addition, span wise scarring was present on the outboard 25 inches of the cambered side of the propeller blade. Wire marks were present extending 5 to 17 inches outboard of the propeller hub on the non-cambered side of the propeller blade.
Another propeller blade remained attached in the propeller hub and was bent aft 10 inches outboard of the propeller hub at a 45 degree angle, and was twisted towards the non-cambered side of the propeller blade. The propeller blade had leading edge gouging 23 inches outboard of the propeller hub and extended outboard to the propeller tip. Chord wise scarring and span wise scratching was present on the cambered side of the propeller blade. Wire marks were present on the inboard 7 inches of the non-cambered side of the propeller blade.
The remaining propeller blade was loose in the propeller hub. The propeller blade was bent aft 3 inches outboard of the propeller hub, and twisted towards the non-cambered side of the propeller blade. The leading edge of the propeller blade had leading edge gouging present at the propeller tip extending inboard 22 inches. Chord wise scarring was present 15 inches inboard of the propeller tip on the cambered side of the propeller blade.
The cabin area was consumed by fire from the engine firewall aft to the empennage. The right baggage compartment door, and left and right cabin door were consumed by fire. The instrument panel, all flight instruments, and throttle quadrant were destroyed by fire. The fuel selector valve remained in the right main fuel tank position. Continuity was established from the cabin fuel lever aft to the fuel valve. The flap handle was separated from the floorboard and the flaps were in the retracted position.
The left and right control yokes were consumed by fire. The left and right aileron cables were attached to the aileron control chain. The right aileron control cable separated 7 feet outboard of the aileron control chain. The right aileron control cable and balance cable were attached to the separated aileron bell crank. The balance cable separated 8 feet inboard of the aileron bell crank. The aileron cable was fire damaged and separated at the aileron turnbuckle. The left aileron control cable was separated 7 feet outboard of the left wing root. The balance cable was attached to the separated aileron bell crank. The balance cable was separated at the left wing root. The left aileron control cable was separated at the left aileron bell crank.
The 'T' bar assembly was destroyed. Stabilator continuity was established from the 'T' bar aft to the stabilator. Rudder continuity was confirmed from the rudder bar aft to the rudder.
The left forward seat remained attached to the seat track, and the seat back was separated. The right forward seat was separated from the floorboard and the seatback was separated. The bottom of the seat frame assembly was bent to the left.
The left rear-facing seat was partially attached to the floorboard and the seatback was bent to the left. The right rear-facing seat separated from the floorboard and the seat back separated.
The left and right forward facing seats separated from the floorboard and the seat backs were separated.
Five seatbelts were located in the wreckage. Four of the seatbelts were buckled. The position of the seatbelts could not be determined. One shoulder harness reel was located.
The right wing was fire damaged and separated at the wing root. The right wing was found on the left side of the fuselage inverted. The right wing separated 7 feet and 12 feet outboard of the wing root. The outboard wing and wing tip were fire damaged. The leading edge of the wing was damaged. The right wing interconnected main fuel tanks were ruptured. The right main fuel cap was secured. Three feet of the right inboard flap was separated and consumed by fire. Four feet of the outboard flap was attached to the outboard flap hinge. The aileron separated from its attachment points except for a 6-inch section, which remained attached to the inboard aileron hinge. The right aileron balance weight was separated. The right main landing gear was extended and fire damaged. The right main landing gear hydraulic actuator rod was extended seven and one-half inches.
The vertical fin remained attached to the empennage. The leading edge of the vertical fin and the dorsal fin were damaged. The rudder was broken and separated at the rudder sector and remained attached to the upper rudder attachment point. The rudder stops and balance weight were intact. The stabilator was fire damaged and remained attached to the vertical fin. The left and right outboard stabilator tips were damaged. The balance weights were intact. The stabilator trim remained attached to the stabilator. The trim drum extension measured .5 inches, which equates to a neutral trim position.
The left wing separated at the wing root and was fire damaged. The outboard fiberglass wing tip was separated and consumed by fire. The left wing interconnected main fuel tanks were consumed by fire. The leading edge of the left wing in-between and outboard of the interconnected fuel tanks was consumed by fire. The left main fuel cap was secured. The leading edge of the outboard left wing exhibited a 45-degree diagonal crush extending inboard 2 feet. The left flap remained attached to its attachment points and was in the retracted position. The inboard 6 inches of the left flap was damaged. The left aileron separated at the outboard aileron hinge. The aileron balance weight remained attached to the aileron. The left main landing gear was extended, fire damaged, and separated at the landing gear strut. The left main landing gear hydraulic actuator rod measured 6 inches.
The engine was partially disassembled. The vacuum pump was removed and the vacuum pump produced pressure when the drive coupling was rotated by hand. The vacuum pump was disassembled and the carbon rotor and vanes were intact. The dual magneto was removed. The ignition leads and the magneto cover assembly was fire damaged. The magneto cover was removed and the magneto was rotated by hand and produced spark at all 12 ignition towers. All top and bottom spark plugs were removed and exhibited gray color and "normal" condition in accordance with the Champion Check-A-Plug Chart. The No. 2 and No. 4 bottom sparkplugs were oil soaked.
The fuel lines were disconnected at the fuel servo and fuel was present in the fuel lines. The fuel injection servo and the engine driven fuel pump were removed and fuel was present in the fuel servo. The fuel servo inlet filter screen was removed and no contaminants were observed. The engine driven fuel pump was rotated by hand and produced pressure at the outlet port. The fuel injector nozzles were removed and oil was present in two injector nozzles.
The starter and alternator were not damaged and were not removed. The alternator drive belt was present and not broken. The propeller governor was removed. No contaminants were noted in the propeller governor oil screen. The propeller governor drive was turned by hand and produced oil. The turbo oil scavenge pump was removed. The scavenge pump drive was turned by hand and produced oil. The engine oil filter was removed and cut open. The filter media was free of contaminants. The engine oil suction screen was removed and free of contaminants. The oil cooler and oil cooler lines were fire damaged. Oil was present in the oil cooler.
The inlet and exhaust ducting was removed from the turbo charger. The turbo charger compressor was rotated freely by hand. No damage was noted in the compressor and turbine wheels. The turbo charger pressure relief valve was removed and the valve moved freely with hand pressure.
All cylinder rocker covers were removed and oil was present. The crankshaft was rotated by hand, valve and drive train continuity was confirmed, and continuity was established with all accessory gears. Suction and compression was obtained on all cylinders. The interiors of all six cylinders were examined with a lighted bore scope. No damage was noted to the piston domes, valves, or cylinder walls.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, conducted a postmortem examination of the pilot, on April 12, 2007. The reported cause of death was blunt force injuries. The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, basic acidic, and neutral drugs.
The pilot rated passenger was transported to Erlanger Health System, Chattanooga, Tennessee, with serious thermal injuries. A subpoena was issued for blood samples. The samples were forwarded to the Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for analysis. The results were negative for ethanol in the blood. Testing for carbon monoxide and cyanide was not performed. Rescue Air One personnel administered morphine to the passenger while he was being flown to Erlanger Health System, and morphine was detected in the serum tested by the Forensic Toxicology Research Section.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, conducted a postmortem examination of the passenger on April 11, 2007. The reported cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.
The wreckage of N21423 was released to Atlanta Air Recovery on April 11, 2007. The airplane records were released to AIG Aviation, Inc, on May 3, 2007.