The Pilot Began A Slow Climb, When The Engine Began To Surge

Location: Del Mar, CA Accident Number: WPR21LA326
Date & Time: August 24, 2021, 12:00 Local Registration: N2843T
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300 Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On August 24, 2021, about 1200 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300 airplane, N2843T, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Del Mar, California. The flight instructor and private pilot were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that the airplane had just completed an annual inspection and he was flying it back to its home base. A departure on runway heading to a level off about 1,500 ft mean sea level (msl) was accomplished. Once past the class B airspace floor of 1,800 ft msl, the pilot began a slow climb, when the engine began to surge. The pilot stated that it sounded like “the throttle was cycling between open and closed.” The pilot declared an emergency, ensured that the auxiliary fuel pump was on, and turned towards a racetrack. He further stated that there was about 60 gallons of fuel on board and all electrical power was lost at this time.

The pilot flew into a downwind for the racetrack but determined that he could not safety land there. Therefore, he elected to land on Interstate highway I-5. Spotting a gap between cars, the pilot force landed the airplane on the interstate. During the landing sequence, the airplane struck several vehicles which caused substantial damage to its wings. The airplane came to rest angled towards the interstate median barrier.

The airplane was recovered to a secure facility for further examination.