Aircraft Incident/Accident Report

Broadway, North Carolina 27505
Thursday, March 14, 2002 16:28 EST

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NTSB Narrative Summary Released at Completion of Accident
The accident airplane was on a Title 14 CFR Part 135 non scheduled cargo flight, when it collided a 1749 ft AGL (2149 ft MSL) communications tower. The airplane exploded on impact and the tower collapsed. The resulting debris was spread over an area of about 700 yards. A witness stated that he, his wife, and their two children were in their front yard, and they heard an aircraft engine. They all turned around to look at the airplane and he said he noted that the airplane was flying "westward or into the sun." He stated that as the airplane approached the tower, it appeared to have been lower than other airplanes he had seen fly over the tower previously. He stated that the airplane appeared to hit a guy wire, and that he did not notice any attempt to correct the flight path before the collision occurred. He also said that there had been no signs of trouble with the airplane's engine. As the airplane collided, it "jolted to the left, and exploded in mid air." He said that the collision appeared to have occurred about 3/4 of the way up the tower, and about 4 or 5 seconds after the explosion, the tower fell in the direction that the aircraft had been traveling. He said that at the time of the accident, the sky was clear, and the tower was visible. The Sanford -Lee County Regional Airport 1701, surface weather observation was, clear skies, winds from 160 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 22 degrees C, dewpoint temperature 14 degrees C, altimeter setting 30.06 inHg. Examination of debris and associated impact marks on the tower structure revealed that the airplane impacted the tower at the 1425-foot level, and that there were no signs of preaccident anomalies with the airframe, flight controls or engine. At the time of the accident the sun was at an altitude of 22 degrees on a bearing of 250 degrees from the accident site. The accident airplane was being flown on a magnetic heading of about 265 degrees.
NTSB Probable Cause Narrative
The pilot's inadequate visual lookout and his failure to maintain obstacle clearance.
Event Information
Type of EventAccident 
Event Date3/14/2002 
Event Day of the WeekThursday 
Time of Event1628 
Event Time ZoneEastern Standard Time 
Event CityBroadway 
Event Country-- 
Zipcode of the event site27505 
Event Date Year2002 
Event Date Month
MidAir Collision IndicatorNo 
On Ground Collision occurred ?No 
Event Location Latitude353044N 
Event Location Longitude0785840W 
Event Location Airport-- 
Event Location Nearest Airport ID-- 
Indicates whether the acc/inc occurred off or on an airportOff Airport/Airstrip 
Distance from airport in statute miles-- 
Degrees magnetic from airport-- 
Airport Elevation-- 
Weather Briefing CompletenessUnknown 
Investigator's weather sourceWeather Observation Facility 
Time of the weather observation1701 Eastern Standard Time 
Direction of event from weather observation facility (degrees)297 
Weather Observation Facility IDTTA 
Elevation of weather observation facility247 
Distance of event from weather observation facility (units?)
Time Zone of the weather observationEST 
Lighting ConditionsDay 
Lowest Ceiling Height-- 
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height-- 
Sky/Lowest/Cloud ConditionsClear 
Sky Condition for Lowest CeilingNone 
Visibility Runway Visual Range (Feet)-- 
Visibility Runway Visual Value (Statute Miles)-- 
Visibility (Statute Miles) 10 
Air Temperature at event time (in degrees celsius)22 
Dew Point at event time (in degress fahrenheit)14 
Wind Direction (degrees magnetic)150 
Variable Wind IndicatorWind direction could be determined 
Wind Speed (knots)
Wind Velocity Indicator -- 
Wind Gust IndicatorGusting 
Wind Gust (knots)
Altimeter Setting at event time (in. Hg) 30.06 
Density Altitude (feet)-- 
Intensity of Precipitation-- 
METAR weather report -- 
Event Highest InjuryFatal 
On Ground, Fatal Injuries-- 
On Ground, Minor Injuries-- 
On Ground, Serious Injuries-- 
Injury Total Fatal
Injury Total Minor-- 
Injury Total None-- 
Injury Total Serious-- 
Injury Total All
Investigating AgencyNTSB 
NTSB Docket Number (internal use)16388 
NTSB Notification SourceNTSB Comm Center  
NTSB Notification DateMar 14 2002 12:00AM 
NTSB Notification Time1812 
Fiche Number and/or location -used to find docket informationDMS 
Date of most recent change to recordSep 29 2004 1:02PM 
User who most recently changed recordNTSB\MONR  
Basic weather conditionsVisual Meteorological Cond 
FAA District OfficeGreensboro, NC 
Aircraft Involved
Aircraft #1
Aircraft Registration NumberN4451X 
NTSB NumberMIA02FA067 
Missing Aircraft Indicator-- 
Federal Aviation Reg. PartPart 135: Air Taxi & Commuter 
Type of Flight Plan filedNone 
Flight plan Was Activated?No 
Aircraft FireNone 
Aircraft ExplosionIn-flight 
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full NamePiper 
Aircraft ModelPA32R-300 
Aircraft Series Identifier-- 
Aircraft Serial Number32R7680018 
Certified Max Gross Weight3600 
Aircraft CategoryAirplane 
Aircraft Registration ClassU.S. Registered/U.S. Soil 
Aircraft is a homebuilt?No 
Flight Crew Seats-- 
Cabin Crew Seats-- 
Passenger Seats-- 
Total number of seats on the aircraft
Number of Engines
Fixed gear or retractable gearRetractable 
Aircraft, Type of Last InspectionAnnual 
Date of Last InspectionMar 7 2002 12:00AM 
Airframe hours since last inspection16 
Airframe Hours13550 
ELT InstalledYes 
ELT ActivatedUnknown 
ELT Aided Location of Event SiteNo 
ELT Type-- 
Aircraft Owner NameBellefonte Inc.,  
Aircraft Owner Street Address3704 Stonegate Dr. 
Aircraft Owner CityDurham 
Aircraft Owner StateNC 
Aircraft Owner CountryUSA  
Aircraft Owner Zipcode27705 
Operator is an individual?No 
Operator Same as Owner?No 
Operator Is Doing Business As-- 
Operator Address Same as Owner?No 
Operator Street Address1425 Meridian Drive 
Operator CityRaleigh 
Operator StateNC 
Operator CountryUSA  
Operator Zip code27623 
Operator CodeFFKA 
Owner has at least one certificate-- 
Other Operator of large aircraft?-- 
Certified for Part 133 or 137 Operation-- 
Operator Certificate Number-- 
Indicates whether an air carrier operation was scheduled or notNon-scheduled 
Indicates Domestic or International FlightDomestic 
Operator carrying Pax/Cargo/MailCargo 
Type of Flying (Per_Bus / Primary)-- 
Second Pilot on BoardNo 
Departure Point Same as EventNo 
Departure Airport CodePGV  
Departure CityGreenville 
Departure StateNC 
Departure CountryUSA 
Departure Time1545 
Departure Time ZoneEST 
Destination Same as Local Flt-- 
Destination Airport CodeJQF  
Destination CityConcord 
Destination StateNC 
Destination CountryUSA 
Specific Phase of FlightCruise - normal 
Report sent to ICAO?No 
Evacuation occurredNo 
Date of most recent change to recordAug 4 2004 11:10AM 
User who most recently changed recordKENJ  
Since inspection or accidentTime of Accident 
Event Location Runway Number and LocationNA 
Runway Length-- 
Runway Width-- 
Sight Seeing flightNo 
Air Medical FlightNo 
Medical Flight--