CEN10LA054
CEN10LA054

On November 19, 2009, approximately 0430 Central Standard Time, a single-engine airplane, a Piper PA-28-181, N3148Q, was substantially damaged during an approach to the Wood County Airport (JDD) Mineola/Quitman, Texas. The private rated pilot, sole occupant, received serious injuries during the accident. The airplane was registered and operated by L and P of Winona, Inc., of Winona, Minnesota. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part (CFR) 91 night cross-country flight.

The pilot reported via NTSB Form 6120.1, that he planned to fly from the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), Fort Lauderdale, Florida to the Addison Airport (ADS), Dallas, Texas with a fuel stop at the Carl Folsum Airport (14J), Elba, Alabama, and "with one more fuel stop needed".

The pilot departed FXE about 1930 on the approximately 441 nautical mile cross-country flight to 14J, and landed about 2330. A fuel receipt at 14J indicated that the airplane was filled with 46.27 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. After refueling the pilot departed 14J around 2350 and while en route, contacted air traffic control (ATC) for flight following to Mesquite, (Texas) (approximately 536 nautical miles from 14J). About 0340, the pilot contacted ATC and said he was, "cutting this a little short" and needed to divert to 3F9, Mineola (Mineola-Wisener airport).

The pilot continued on his 6120.1 statement, that during the descent to the airport, he could not activate the pilot controlled lighting at 3F9, so he changed his landing site to the JDD airport, located about 4 nm north of 3F9. He added that while on final approach to the runway 18, he was low and collided with trees short of the runway.

The Federal Aviation Inspector (FAA), who arrived on scene, reported that the airplane had impacted trees before colliding with terrain. The inspector reported that the left wing was folded back with the wing spar, broken at the wing root. Additionally, the fuselage had extensive damage, and only a few ounces of fuel were drained from the left and right wing fuel tanks, and the engine gasolator was empty. The inspector estimated that the airplane was loaded with 650 pounds of cargo.

The wreckage was transported to a secure facility near Lancaster, Texas, for further examination.

On 17 December, 2009 the NTSB IIC, the FAA, and technical representatives from Piper aircraft and Lycoming engines inspected the wreckage. The PA-28-181 airplane was equipped with two wing fuel tanks, for a total of 50 gallons (48 gallons usable). An inspection of the airplane's two-bladed fixed pitch propeller, revealed that one blade was bent to the non-cambered side, and the other blade appeared relatively straight; neither blade exhibited any chord wise scratching or leading edge nicks/gouges. The propeller crankshaft flange was bent so that the starter ring gear impacted the engine case and starter housing. The ring gear and starter housing were absent any rotational scoring and the alternator belt was in-place, on the alternator and ring gear pulleys. The propeller was then removed; engine continuity was established to the back of the engine and cylinder valve train. A sparkplug from each cylinder was removed; the sparkplugs had whitish colored deposits on them. A thumb compression was then conducted on each cylinder, ignition spark was observed on each cylinder magneto lead.

Examination of the engine and airframe revealed no apparent abnormalities that would have prevented normal operation.

A review of NOTAMs (notices to airmen) and the Airport Facilities/Directory for JDD and 3F9, indicate that the rotating beacon and runway lights at 3F9 were out of service, and obstruction lighting on two towers near the airports were also out of service.

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