A Flight Instructor Stated That The Sequence Resembled An Aerodynamic Stall/Spin

Location: Susanville, CA Accident Number: WPR20LA270
Date & Time: 08/15/2020, 1340 PDT Registration: N91449
Aircraft: Piper PA 14 Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation – Personal

On August 15, 2020, about 1340 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-14 airplane, N91449, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Susanville, California. The pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to a friend of the pilot who also witnessed the accident, the pilot, pilot-rated passenger, and him had planned to fly over a landmark in the Nevada desert and then stay overnight in a campground north of Susanville. The friend was in his own airplane, while the pilot and passenger were in the accident airplane. They departed Redding, California about 0930 and flew east, but during cruise flight they chose to discontinue the flyover and make an intermediate stop at Susanville Municipal Airport (SVE), Susanville, California. The friend landed on the airport’s only asphalt runway and the accident pilot landed on the dirt runway.

After lunch they returned to the airport and boarded their airplanes. The accident airplane’s takeoff was not observed. While the witness was taxiing to the asphalt runway, he witnessed the accident airplane about 350 ft above ground level about midfield in a steep left bank angle.

The airplane immediately transitioned into a nose down pitch attitude and descended rapidly toward the ground. The friend, a flight instructor, stated that the sequence resembled an aerodynamic stall/spin.

The wreckage came to rest in dirt about 50 ft southwest of runway 11/29 on an eastern heading. All major structural surfaces were accounted for at the accident site. The initial impact point was marked by left wing navigation light fragments that were in a small dirt impression a few feet north of the main wreckage. The nose and cabin were crushed aft and the propeller blades had separated from the propeller hub. Both wings were deformed, but remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing displayed an upward bend about midspan and the right wing displayed a slight upward bend at the wing root. The tail section remained attached to the airplane and was unremarkable.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov