Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, Blue Moon Aviation LLC, N1572J: Accident occurred February 01, 2016 at Sylvania Airport (C89), Sturtevant, Racine County, Wisconsin


NTSB Identification: CEN16LA097
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, February 01, 2016 in Sturtevant, WI
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-140, registration: N1572J
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On February 1, 2016, about 1715 central standard time, a Piper PA 28-140 airplane, N1572J, collided with a moving vehicle while on short final approach to runway 26L at the Sylvania Airport (C89), near Sturtevant, Wisconsin. The commercial pilot and his passenger were uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial fuselage damage when the vehicle separated the landing gear from the airplane during the collision and during the subsequent landing on runway 26R without landing gear. The airplane was registered to Blue Moon Aviation LLC and was operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight]. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area of the accident site about the time of the accident and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the John H Batten Airport, near Racine, Wisconsin, at time unknown and was destined for C89.

During an initial telephone call to the accident pilot, he was asked if he had flown into C89 before and he indicated that he had. He indicated that the approach was a normal approach until he heard the impact. He was asked if he used the installed PAPI during the accident approach. He indicated he did not use the PAPI as it was out of service.

N1572J, a 1967 Piper PA 28-140, serial number 28-23978, was a single-engine, low wing, four-place airplane, with fixed tricycle landing gear.

At 1653, the recorded weather at the Kenosha Municipal Airport, near Kenosha, Wisconsin, was: Wind 290 degrees at 3 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 3 degrees C; dew point -2 degrees C; altimeter 30.05 inches of mercury. According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, sunset in the Sturtevant, Wisconsin, area was 1704.

C89 was a non-towered airport, which was privately owned and was open to the public. It was located about three miles west of Sturtevant, Wisconsin. The airport had an estimated elevation of 788 feet above mean sea level. The airport was serviced by two runways, 8L/26R and 8R/26L. Runway 8R/26L was a 2,272 foot by 38 foot asphalt runway. According to the airport's master record, the left side of runway 26L was equipped with a two-light precision approach path indicator (PAPI).

According to National Transportation Safety Board report CHI98LA061, on December 13, 1997, at 1545 central standard time (cst), a Piper PA-28-140, N5454S, piloted by a student pilot, was destroyed during a collision with a moving tractor-trailer truck and terrain while on short final approach to runway 26L (2,300' X 33' dry/asphalt) at the Sylvania Airport, Sturtevant, Wisconsin. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight departed Sturtevant, Wisconsin, at 1540 cst.

The investigator in charge of the 1997 accident discussed the potential airplane and highway vehicular traffic conflict and suggested the "State of Wisconsin and airport owner provide usable glide path guidance for pilots landing on runway 26L." The Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics responded through a letter that, in part, said: "We have begun preliminary discussions with the department's Office of Transportation Safety. This office should address the glideslope indicator and its installation due to the multimodal benefits. We have placed the Sylvania Airport into a list of candidates for our Airport Marking Program. Completion of runway marking will be after the installation of the glideslope indicator system."

A PAPI was subsequently installed on runway 26L.

C89's manager was asked about the current status of the PAPI. He indicated that it was out of service because the PAPI installation frost heaves during the winter. The PAPI's tilt switch reportedly senses it is not level following the frost heaving and shuts itself off so that an erroneous path is not indicated to pilots.

A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) is a notice filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight. According to Automated Flight Service Station records, a NOTAM was issued for runway 26L's PAPI being out of service on February 2, 2016.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Milwaukee FSDO-13

RACINE COUNTY-- Noel DuPont was on his way home from work when he noticed something unusual.

"I remembered seeing a plane as I first got on the ramp and it looked like it was kind of low to the freeway like more than usual and I didn't think much of it," said Noel DuPont, Washington County.

Two Racine County residents were trying to land the small plane at Sylvania Airport in Sturtevant when it came in too low. The Racine County Sheriff's Department says the experienced pilot struck a semi truck on I-94 before making an emergency landing.  Investigators believe that's how the landing gear was torn from the aircraft.

"There was a semi to my left and I remember either the car in front of me pulled out of the way and then the next thing you know it looked like it was a dead animal in the road and bam I hit what turns out to be a piece of landing gear," explained DuPont.

The driver dragged the debris about a tenth of a mile.

"It's too surreal I mean you don't typically have plane parts laying on the freeway."

DuPont is questioning the safety of the small airport.

"I've heard of several things at this little airport and it brings into question whether it's too close to an interstate."

The husband and wife on the plane escaped without injuries. The 65 year old pilot landed the plane in the grass at the end of the runway.

The semi truck drove off without stopping. The FAA is investigating the incident. 

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