Aircraft Accident/Incident Report

Tennant, California 96023
Wednesday, July 17, 1996 14:15 PDT

NTSB Narrative Summary Released at Completion of Accident

The pilot departed San Jose, California, on a cross-country flight to Sisters, Oregon. He obtained a standard preflight weather briefing. Visual flight was not recommended. Cumulus buildups were reported to the pilot. The pilot indicated that he may be overflying the cloud tops. He did not file a flight plan. The pilot's wife was driving to the same location and they talked by cell phone while en route. When the pilot failed to arrive at the destination a search was started. According to radar data, the aircraft was at 15,400 feet when it started a rapid descent. Radar was lost at 11,800 feet. Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft descending near vertically out of broken clouds with the engine at full power. When the aircraft was found, the right outboard wing panel from about station 110 outboard was missing. About a month later the outer wing panel was found. Analysis of the failed structure indicated a positive overload of the wing and the horizontal stabilators.

NTSB Probable Cause Narrative

the pilot's continued flight into known adverse weather conditions.

Event Information

Type of Event Accident
Event Date 7/17/1996
Event Day of the Week Wednesday
Time of Event 1415
Event Time Zone Pacific Daylight Time
Event City TENNANT
Event Country --
Zipcode of the event site 96023
Event Date Year 1996
Event Date Month 7
MidAir Collision Indicator No
On Ground Collision occurred ? No
Event Location Latitude
Event Location Longitude
Event Location Airport
Event Location Nearest Airport ID
Indicates whether the acc/inc occurred off or on an airport Off Airport/Airstrip
Distance from airport in statute miles --
Degrees magnetic from airport --
Airport Elevation --
Weather Briefing Completeness Full
Investigator's weather source Weather Observation Facility
Time of the weather observation 1256 Pacific Daylight Time
Direction of event from weather observation facility (degrees) 180
Weather Observation Facility ID RBL
Elevation of weather observation facility 349
Distance of event from weather observation facility (units?) 125
Time Zone of the weather observation PDT
Lighting Conditions Day
Lowest Ceiling Height 0
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height 0
Sky/Lowest/Cloud Conditions Clear
Sky Condition for Lowest Ceiling None
Visibility Runway Visual Range (Feet) 0
Visibility Runway Visual Value (Statute Miles) 0
Visibility (Statute Miles) 10
Air Temperature at event time (in degrees celsius) 27
Dew Point at event time (in degress fahrenheit) 12
Wind Direction (degrees magnetic) 150
Variable Wind Indicator Unknown
Wind Speed (knots) 13
Wind Velocity Indicator Unknown
Wind Gust Indicator Not Gusting
Wind Gust (knots) 0
Altimeter Setting at event time (in. Hg) 29
Density Altitude (feet) --
Intensity of Precipitation Unknown
METAR weather report --
Event Highest Injury Fatal
On Ground, Fatal Injuries 0
On Ground, Minor Injuries 0
On Ground, Serious Injuries 0
Injury Total Fatal 2
Injury Total Minor --
Injury Total None --
Injury Total Serious --
Injury Total All 2
Investigating Agency NTSB
NTSB Docket Number (internal use) 1475
NTSB Notification Source --
NTSB Notification Date Jul 17 1996 12:00AM
NTSB Notification Time 1500
Fiche Number and/or location -used to find docket information IMAGE
Date of most recent change to record Dec 8 2000 10:12AM
User who most recently changed record dbo
Basic weather conditions Visual Meteorological Cond
FAA District Office --

Aircraft Involved

Aircraft #1

Aircraft Registration Number N9324P
NTSB Number LAX96FA275
Missing Aircraft Indicator N
Federal Aviation Reg. Part Part 91: General Aviation
Type of Flight Plan filed None
Flight plan Was Activated? --
Damage Destroyed
Aircraft Fire None
Aircraft Explosion None
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full Name Piper
Aircraft Model PA-24-260
Aircraft Series Identifier PA-24-260
Aircraft Serial Number 24-4821
Certified Max Gross Weight 3200
Aircraft Category Airplane
Aircraft Registration Class U.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 4
Number of Engines 1
Fixed gear or retractable gear Retractable
Aircraft, Type of Last Inspection Annual
Date of Last Inspection Mar 8 1996 12:00AM
Airframe hours since last inspection 37
Airframe Hours 4229
ELT Installed Yes
ELT Activated No
ELT Aided Location of Event Site Unknown
ELT Type --
Aircraft Owner Name KIMBERLY J. LEALE
Aircraft Owner Street Address 3140 ST FRANCIS DR.
Aircraft Owner City LAKEPORT
Aircraft Owner State CA
Aircraft Owner Country
Aircraft Owner Zipcode 95453
Operator is an individual? --
Operator Name LEROY M. LEALE
Operator Same as Owner? No
Operator Is Doing Business As --
Operator Address Same as Owner? No
Operator Street Address 18300 LAKEVIEW CT.
Operator City LOS GATOS
Operator State CA
Operator Country
Operator Zip code 95030
Operator Code
Owner has at least one certificate None
Other Operator of large aircraft? No
Certified for Part 133 or 137 Operation Unknown
Operator Certificate Number --
Indicates whether an air carrier operation was scheduled or not --
Indicates Domestic or International Flight --
Operator carrying Pax/Cargo/Mail --
Type of Flying (Per_Bus / Primary) Personal
Second Pilot on Board No
Departure Point Same as Event No
Departure Airport Code RHV
Departure City REID HILLVIEW
Departure State CA
Departure Country
Departure Time 1237
Departure Time Zone PDT
Destination Same as Local Flt --
Destination Airport Code 6K5
Destination City SISTER
Destination State OR
Destination Country
Specific Phase of Flight Cruise
Report sent to ICAO? --
Evacuation occurred --
Date of most recent change to record Jan 2 2001 10:34AM
User who most recently changed record dbo
Since inspection or accident --
Event Location Runway Number and Location 0
Runway Length --
Runway Width --
Sight Seeing flight No
Air Medical Flight No
Medical Flight --