Airplane Impacted A Fallow Cornfield About 11.8 Nautical Miles (NM) Southwest Of The Departure Airport
Location: Burlington, CO Accident Number: CEN23FA285
Date & Time: July 6, 2023, 13:30 Local Registration: N100PB
Aircraft: Piper PA-60-601P Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal
On July 6, 2023, about 1330 mountain daylight time (MDT), a Piper PA-60-601P airplane, N100PB, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Burlington, Colorado. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.
A search of radar and automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data sources did not reveal any track data for the flight. There were no witnesses to the accident. Video surveillance at the Kit Carson County Airport (ITR), Burlington, Colorado depicted the aircraft departing the runway about 1330 MDT. No flight plan was found to be filed. Day instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed at the accident site.
The airplane impacted a fallow cornfield about 11.8 nautical miles (nm) southwest of the departure airport. A 350 ft long debris path, oriented on a 345° magnetic heading, preceded the location of the main wreckage. The airplane impacted the ground in a near wings level nose down attitude. The nose landing gear wheel and fork was found separated from the strut about 325 ft from the initial point of impact. The wing tips were found separated from both wings along the wreckage debris path on their respective sides. The fuselage was fractured from the wing and the wing spars remained attached as one assembly. Flight control continuity could not be verified because the control push/pull tubes for the ailerons, elevators, and rudder exhibited extensive impact and fire damage. Both ailerons and flaps exhibited impact and fire damage. The hydraulic flap actuators were found retracted consistent with about 0° of flap extension. The flap control handle was not located during the investigation. Both elevators remained attached to the horizontal stabilizer and exhibited impact damage. The elevator trim tabs measured about 10° tab down.
The rudder was found about 125ft from the empennage, its trim tab measuring about 4° tab left. The vertical stabilizer was fractured from the empennage and crushed. The instrument panel sustained significant damage during the accident sequence and postimpact fire. The altimeter indicated about 4,200 feet and was set to 30.13 inHg in the Kollsman window. The attitude indicator was extensively damaged and could not be tested. The internal gyro of the attitude indicator was found separated from its instrument case and exhibited evidence of rotational scoring. The airspeed indicator and backup course deviation indicator were not located. The Aspen primary flight display (PFD) was destroyed by impact and fire. The engine tachometer, manifold pressure gauge, combo oil pressure, temperature and fuel pressure gauges, and exhaust gas temperature gauge were also destroyed. The engine cylinder temperature gauge was found impact damaged with a needle impact mark at 100° C for the right engine, with no indications for the left engine. The pressurization controller was found set to about 12,500 ft (8,500 ft cabin pressure). The gyro pressure gauge was found damaged indicating 4.4 inHg with the right source inoperative.
The right magneto switch was found attached to its mounting location on the instrument panel and was in the OFF position. The left magneto switch was found intact but separated from its mounting location and was in the OFF position. The airplane’s Garmin 430 and 530 panel mounted GPS navigation/communication devices were recovered. The landing gear selector handle was found to be in the up and locked position, and the landing gear was found fully retracted at the accident site.
The right engine remained attached to its engine mounts and nacelle. The left engine was located among the debris field attached to its mount that fractured from its nacelle. The throttle quadrant was destroyed by impact and fire damage. Engine examinations will be conducted following recovery of the wreckage.
The right propeller separated from engine propeller shaft flange during impact. One blade separated from the hub and its leading edge was found lodged into the right engine’s intercooler core. The other two blades remained attached to the hub but could be rotated in their housing by hand. The left propeller separated from engine propeller shaft flange during impact. One propeller blade separated from the hub, and the remaining two blades appeared to be in the normal range of operation. Two propeller blades exhibited bends in the aft direction, and the remaining blade appeared to be slightly bent aft. The propellers will be further examined at a later date.
Two fuel valves were located amongst the wreckage site, upon examination one fuel valve was in the CLOSED position and the other was in the OPEN position. According to fueling documentation obtained from the ITR airport manager, the night before the flight, the pilot serviced the airplane with 113.4 gallons of 100 low-lead aviation fuel from the self-serve pumps at ITR.