Controller Reiterated That The Cloud Bases In The Area Were Reported To Be 300 Ft

Location: New Hudson, MI Accident Number: CEN21LA104
Date & Time: January 2, 2021, 15:41 Local Registration: N8347P
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250 Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On January 2, 2021, at 1541 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-24-250 airplane, N8347P, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident in New Hudson, Michigan. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

There was no record that the pilot obtained a weather briefing or filed a flight plan on the day of the accident. He departed Cherokee County Airport (CNI), Canton, GA at 1221 and flew GPS (Global Positioning System) direct at 7,500 ft, estimated to arrive at Y47 at 1542. The pilot was not instrument rated.

About 1457, while inbound at 7,000 ft, the pilot established radio communications with the Detroit TRACON (terminal radar approach control). After the pilot was given the Detroit altimeter setting, the pilot asked the approach controller if there had been any icing PIREPs (pilot reports). The controller replied that there had not been any for the past hour and added that a pilot landing at Willow Run Airport (YIP), Ypsilanti, Michigan, located 16 miles south of Y47, had reported no icing in the clouds, and said the cloud bases were at 300 ft. The controller asked the pilot his intentions, and the Piper PA-24-250 The pilot added that if he had to make a missed approach, he would proceed to Oakland County International Airport (PTK), Pontiac, Michigan, located 13 miles northeast of Y47. The controller reiterated that the cloud bases in the area were reported to be 300 ft.

The pilot was cleared to descend to 4,000 ft, then to 3,000 ft, and instructed to fly a heading of 020° to intercept the final approach course. The controller then told the pilot to maintain 2,700 ft or above until established on the final approach course. Although the pilot was cleared for the VOR-A or GPS-A approach, it had been NOTAMed (Notice to Airmen) as unavailable. This notice was displayed on the Information Display System (IDS) at the radar position. The controller told the pilot to contact the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) and to report back to him if he executed a missed approach or cancelled his IFR clearance after landing.

The airplane continued to descend to about 1,900 ft msl and passed over Y47. It then appeared to climb slightly to about 2,000 ft before it entered two descending left hand spiral turns at decreasing airspeed. Track data was lost about 1541 near the accident location, which was about ½-mile north of Y47. There was a post-impact fire that destroyed the airplane and did substantial damage to a house. There were no ground injuries, but a cat inside the house was fatally injured.