As The Turn Continued The Radius Of The Turn Decreased And The Descent Rate Increased

Location: Muscatine, IA Accident Number: CEN21FA320
Date & Time: July 14, 2021, 12:38 Local Registration: N2801T
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180 Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On July 14, 2021, at 1238 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180, N2801T, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Muscatine, Iowa. The pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate for single-engine airplanes and did not have an instrument rating. No flight plan had been filed and the pilot was not in contact with air traffic control. The flight originated from the Ford Airport (IML), Iron Mountain, Michigan, at 0918, and the destination has not been confirmed.

A review of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data showed that the airplane departed IML and proceeded on a 210° heading for about 220 nautical miles. The first part of the flight was at an altitude of about 4,500 ft msl. About 1141, the airplane started a series of course changes along with altitude changes that continued to the end of the flight data. At 1238, the airplane was at 2,900 ft on a heading of about 240° when it began a right descending turn. As the turn continued the radius of the turn decreased and the descent rate increased until the last recorded data point at 1238:28.7. The final recorded point indicated that the airplane was heading 165°, and still descending. The final data point was about 200 ft from the initial impact location.

The airplane impacted a farm field on a south heading. The airplane fragmented upon impact and was distributed in a fan shaped pattern. The fuselage of the airplane came to rest about 435 ft south of the initial impact point.