After Reaching 20,200 Ft, The Airplane Began To Descend On A Southeast Heading

Location: Danville, AR Accident Number: CEN21FA198
Date & Time: April 23, 2021, 17:01 Local Registration: N461DK
Aircraft: Piper PA-46-310P Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On April 23, 2021, about 1701 central daylight time, a Piper PA-46-310P airplane, N461DK, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Danville, Arkansas. The pilot and three passengers sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

The airplane had departed the Muskogee-Davis Regional Airport (MKO), Muskogee, Oklahoma, about 1622 destined for Williston Municipal Airport (X60), Williston, Florida on an instrument flight rules flight plan. On the flight plan, the pilot indicated a planned cruise altitude of FL230.

According to archived air traffic control (ATC) information, about 10 minutes after departure, ATC advised the accident pilot about moderate precipitation along the route of flight. About 1658, after reaching 20,200 ft, the airplane began to descend on a southeast heading. No further radio communications were received from the pilot.

About 2 minutes after the descent began, the airplane initiated a right descending turn to the northeast and continued on that heading for about 30 seconds. The flight path then became erratic before the data ended.

A search was immediately initiated, but due to the terrain, the airplane was not located until the next morning. The airplane was found in an area of densely forested terrain at an elevation of about 930 ft above mean sea level on a heading of about 010°. During the on-scene portion of the investigation, it was determined that the right wing, right aileron, right horizontal stabilizer, and right elevator had separated in flight and was not located within the vicinity of the main wreckage. Although an aerial search commenced, to date, these components have not been located.

The airplane was equipped a Continental Motors TSIO-550 series engines. Detailed wreckage and engine examinations are pending.