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Accident Report Detail

 
​Safety Recommendation Report: Unsafe Wiring Conditions in Piper Model PA-31T-Series Airplane Floor-Mounted Circuit Breaker Panels

Executive Summary

​On July 29, 2016, about 12:58 am Pacific daylight time, the pilot of a Piper PA-31T airplane, N661TC, reported the smell of smoke in the cockpit to air traffic control (ATC) and indicated that he wanted to return to the departure airport in Crescent City, California. ATC provided the clearance for the flight. About 1 minute later, the pilot reported that he had smoke in the cockpit and declared an emergency. There were no further communications from the pilot. According to the flight’s primary radar returns, the airplane continued to fly for about 3 minutes before breaking up in flight. The wreckage was found in tree-covered terrain near Arcata/Eureka Airport, McKinleyville, California. The airplane was being operated by Cal-Ore Life Flight as an air transport medical flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. The airline transport pilot, two medical personnel, and one patient died.


Probable Cause

​Recommendation to the Federal Aviation Administration:

Issue an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) that requires owners and operators of Piper PA-31T-series airplanes to take the actions recommended in Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-17-05 immediately after the AD is issued. (A-17-1) Urgent.


Additional preliminary information about this accident, NTSB case number WPR16FA153, can be accessed at the NTSB’s Aviation Information Resources web page, www.ntsb.gov/air.


Accident Location: McKinleyville , CA USA  
Accident Date: 7/29/2016
Accident ID: WPR16FA153

Date Adopted: 1/5/2017
NTSB Number: ASR1701
NTIS Number:  

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