Witness Stated, “It Flew Until Completely Inverted Upside Down, Then Plunged Out Of Sight, Under [The] Tree-Line”

Location: Winston-Salem, NC Accident Number: ERA23FA067
Date & Time: November 19, 2022, 11:10 Local Registration: N7295Y
Aircraft: Piper PA-30 Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On November 19, 2022, about 1110 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-30, N7295Y, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The commercial pilot and passenger was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot and passenger departed St. Louis Downtown Airport (CPS), Cahokia, Illinois, about 0630, enroute to Smith Reynolds Airport (INT), Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They made one stop at London (Corbin) Magee Airport (LOZ), London, Kentucky, before continuing to the destination. Preliminary radar data tracked the airplane departing LOZ about 1004, heading east towards INT. As the airplane approached INT from the west, the INT tower air traffic controller cleared the pilot for a left base traffic pattern entry and landing on runway 04. The pilot confirmed the radio transmission but continued past the runway 4 extended centerline. Radar data tracked the airplane as it flew past the runway 33 extended centerline before turning left on northwesterly heading on the right side of runway 33. The pilot requested a right 360° turn, which the controller approved. There were no further radio transmissions from the pilot.

A witness located on a nearby golf course about .20 miles southeast of the accident site stated that he watched the airplane traveling northwest bound overhead and heard it “making a sputtering sound.” The witness further described that the airplane appeared to be “flying at a 45° angle and veering right” as it flew overhead. The witness stated, “it flew until completely inverted upside down, then plunged out of sight, under [the] tree-line”.

The airplane came to rest in a residential back yard. The fuselage, right and left engine, along with the right and left wings exhibited crush damage consistent with the airplane having impacted the ground at a 90° angle. The empennage was bent forward with the rudder and elevators hanging over the cockpit area. All components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. Both engines were partially separated from their mounting points on the wings. Flight control continuity was established for all flight controls from each control surface to the cockpit. The airplane was equipped with 4 fuel tanks, a main and auxiliary tank on each wing. The fuel selector valve was field tested with low pressure air and was operational in all positions. The landing gear was found in the down and locked position.

The left engine’s powertrain was rotated via the vacuum pump drive port and thumb compression was confirmed on all cylinders. Camshaft to crankshaft continuity was established throughout the engine and valve movement was observed on all cylinders. The cylinder interiors were examined with a lighted borescope with no anomalies noted. The right engine’s powertrain rotated when force was applied to the propeller and thumb compression was confirmed on all four cylinders. Camshaft to crankshaft continuity was established throughout the engine and valve movement was observed on all cylinders. The cylinder interiors were examined with a lighted borescope with no anomalies noted.

The left two bladed propeller was separated from the engine and was buried 1-2 feet below the surface. One blade was bent aft approximately 45° and the outboard tip was bent/curled forward. This blade exhibited 45-degree chordwise scratching on the front side of the blade. The other blade was bent aft 25-35° and the outboard tip was bent/curled aft.

 The right two bladed propeller remained attached to the engine. One blade was bent aft approximately 45° and the other bladed was relatively straight with no major damage.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov