On March 19, 2011, about 1410 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N7330J, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after takeoff from Ocean Springs Airport (5R2), Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The certificated airline transport pilot and two passengers sustained minor injuries. The third passenger was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight that was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a telephone interview, the pilot stated that earlier on the day of the accident, he flew the 12-mile distance from Trent Lott International Airport (PQL), Pascagoula, Mississippi, to 5R2 in order to pick up the 3 passengers, and consumed "about an hour's worth of fuel" while en route. He then left the airport, went to his home, and then returned "around" 1350 to conduct the flight.
Air Traffic Control data revealed that the accident airplane departed PQL at 1254.
The pilot boarded the passengers, loaded approximately 40 pounds of luggage, and completed the engine start, run-up, magneto check, taxi, and takeoff roll with no anomalies noted. At 80 to 100 feet above the runway, the airplane "would not climb." At that time, the pilot perceived a loss of engine power and noted that the engine RPM had decayed from 2,300 RPM to about 2,000 RPM.
The pilot checked the position of the engine controls, and responded to continuous stall warnings by "lowering the nose," which resulted in a steady loss of altitude. He then selected a narrow street in a residential area, 1/2 mile off the airport for the forced landing.
The passengers each provided written statements, and their accounts were consistent with the pilot's, with the exception that they each estimated that the weight of the baggage loaded was between 80 and 100 pounds.
The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine and airplane multiengine. He reported an estimated 4,400 total hours of flight experience, of which 25 hours were in make and model.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1968 and had accrued 5,946 total aircraft hours as of its most recent annual inspection, which was completed on January 27, 2011.
The manufacturer's maximum allowable gross weight was 2,150 pounds. The weight of the airplane at takeoff was calculated using the weight of the occupants, 33 gallons of fuel, and 40 pounds of baggage. The estimated gross weight at takeoff was 2,248 pounds.
At 1355, the weather reported at Biloxi, Mississippi, included clear skies and winds from 210 at 10 knots. The temperature was 25 degrees C, and the dewpoint was 20 degrees C. The altimeter setting was 30.22 inches of mercury.
The airplane was examined at the accident site on March 19, 2011 by a FAA aviation safety inspector, who also photographed the scene. There was fuel spillage, and the fire department drained approximately 50 gallons of the remaining fuel from the airplane.
Examination of the photographs revealed that the right wing was separated by impact, and that the left wing outboard of the wing flap was also separated. The underside of the engine compartment and cockpit showed upward crushing along the right side. One propeller blade was bent aft due to impact.
The wreckage was removed from the site and recovered to an automotive repair facility. On April 27, 2011, a wreckage examination and engine run was conducted under the supervision of the FAA. The fuselage was lifted by, and secured to, a forklift. Examination revealed impact damage to the engine mount and several bends in the engine-mount tubing, but no breaks were noted. The exhaust system was restricted due to impact damage, but no breaks in the system were noted.
An auxiliary fuel source was plumbed into the fuel system at the electric-driven fuel pump, and a substitute propeller was installed due to the bent propeller blade. The airplane's battery was used for the engine start.
The engine started immediately, and ran continuously, but required a few minutes for the spark plugs to "clear" due to the oil that had accumulated while the airplane rested on its side during storage. A magneto check revealed that the left magneto was not operational at the time of the test.
The engine was run at various power settings, but could not be accelerated above 2,100 rpm due to the condition of the engine mount.