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National Transportation Safety Board

NTSB ID: LAX08FA203 Occurrence Date: 06/28/2008 Occurrence Type: Accident

Most Critical Injury: Fatal Investigated By: NTSB ICAO Report Submitted:

PRELIMINARY REPORT AVIATION
Location/Time
Nearest City/Place State

Zip Code

Local Time

Time Zone

Mt. Charleston

NV

89124

1450

PDT

Aircraft Information
Registration Number Aircraft Manufacturer Model/Series Number

N4063W
Type of Aircraft: Airplane Injury Summary:

Piper
Homebuilt Aircraft? No
Fatal

PA-32-300

4

Serious

Minor

None

Sightseeing Flight: No Narrative

Air Medical Transport Flight: No

Brief narrative statement of facts, conditions and circumstances pertinent to the accident/incident:

On June 28, 2008, about 1450 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300, N4063W, collided with mountainous terrain near Mount Charleston, Nevada. The pilot operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The certificated private pilot and three passengers were killed; the airplane was destroyed by post impact fire. The cross-country personal flight departed North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), Las Vegas, Nevada, at 1430, with a planned destination of Byron Airport (C83), Byron, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The main wreckage came to rest at GPS coordinates of 36 degrees 15.838 minutes north latitude and 115 degrees 39.418 minutes west longitude. A U.S. Forest Service employee, located in his residence located at an elevation of 7,550 feet on the north facing slope of Griffith Peak, observed the airplane pass just below his elevation flying from east to west. He stated that the airplane was flying straight and level, did not appear be gaining altitude, and that the engine noise was "full throttle." A second witness located at a similar vantage point at a 7,750-foot elevation first observed the airplane flying below her, and over the Mount Charleston Fire Station. She continued to observe the airplane follow Forest Road to the west. The witness noted that the engine was running and that the wings appeared to be rocking. She looked away and heard a popping sound, and when she returned her gaze observed a fire erupt in the area of Echo Road. A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed that the pilot held a private pilot certificate issued on September 11, 2006, with ratings for airplane single engine land. The engine was a normally aspirated Textron Lycoming IO-540-K1A5, serial number L-4731-48. A review of FAA records for the airplane revealed a mismatch that reflected the engine model as a turbocharged TIO-540 series. Fueling records from North Las Vegas Air Terminal established that the airplane was last fueled on the day of the accident with the addition of 43 gallons of 100-octane aviation fuel. The closest official weather observation station was VGT, located about 26 miles southeast of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 2,205 feet mean sea level (msl). An aviation routine weather report was issued at 1453. It stated: winds from 110 degrees at 11 knots gusting to 18 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; skies clear; temperature 39 degrees Celsius; dew point 1 degrees Celsius; altimeter 29.93 inches of mercury. The accident site was located at the 7,600-foot level, on a 10-degree uphill sloping valley floor at the base of Mount Charleston. The site was surrounded to the north, west, and south by steep sloping canyon walls with elevations ranging between 10,000 and 11,900 feet.

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National Transportation Safety Board

NTSB ID: LAX08FA203 Occurrence Date: 06/28/2008 Occurrence Type: Accident

PRELIMINARY REPORT AVIATION
Narrative (Continued)

The first identified point of contact (FIPC) was located on a tree trunk, 40 feet above ground level on the north side of Echo Road. The outboard section of the right wing and aileron where located at the base of the tree. The leading edge of the wing section was observed to have a 12-inch circumferential indentation that corresponded to the diameter of the tree trunk. The debris field continued across Echo Road on a heading of 275 degrees magnetic to the main accident site located 450 feet from the FIPC. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, vertical stabilizer and rudder, horizontal stabilator, and engine. Post impact fire consumed the entire fuselage structure, both wings, and the majority of stabilator. The orientation of the fuselage was 240 degrees. The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge and representatives from Piper and Textron Lycoming inspected the wreckage at the accident site. The engine was aligned with the cabin and had come to rest inverted. The engine had sustained crush damage and numerous cracks were observed in the crankcase aft of the forward two cylinders. The propeller was attached to the crankshaft, and both blades exhibited chordwise abrasions, torsional s-bending, and leading edge gouges. The tip of one blade, measuring 2 inches in length, had separated in a jagged s-pattern and was located in the debris field. The top spark plugs were removed; the spark plug electrodes were gray, which corresponded to normal operation according to the Champion Aviation Check-A-Plug AV-27 Chart. The spark plugs from cylinders one, three, and five were observed to be oil-soaked. A borescope inspection revealed no mechanical deformation of the valves, cylinder walls, or cylinder heads. Ductile crushing was noted to the exhaust risers and tubes. Investigators removed the propeller and manually rotated the crankshaft via the hub. The crankshaft rotated, and the valves moved approximately the same amount of lift. Valve train continuity was confirmed through to the accessory case. Thumb compression was obtained on all six cylinders. Both magnetos were consumed by post impact fire. The fuel selector valve was observed in the left tip tank position. The flap handle was noted in the second detent position corresponding to 25 degrees of flap extension. The wreckage was removed from the accident site and retained for further examination.

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National Transportation Safety Board

NTSB ID: LAX08FA203 Occurrence Date: 06/28/2008 Occurrence Type: Accident

PRELIMINARY REPORT AVIATION
Other Aircraft Involved
Registration Number Aircraft Manufacturer

Model/Series Number

Accident Information
Aircraft Damage: Property Damage:

Destroyed

Accident Occurred During: Cruise

Crew
Pilot 2 3 4 5 6

Name

Certificate No.

Injury

On File

On File

Fatal

Operator Information
Name Operator Designator Code Doing Business As

Erik W Nunn
Street Address City State Zip Code

Byron
-Type of Certificate(s) Held: None
Air Carrier Operating Certificate(s):

CA

94561

Operating Certificate: Regulation Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation Type of Flight Operations Conducted: Personal

Operator Certificate:

Flight Plan/Itinerary
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None

Last Departure Point

State

Airport Identifier

North Las Vegas
Destination

NV
State

VGT
Airport Identifier

Byron

CA

C83

Weather Information
Investigator's Source: Sky/Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear Lowest Ceiling: None Ft. AGL Visibility: Facility ID: VGT Ft. AGL Observation Time (Local): 1453

10

SM

Altimeter:

29.93

"Hg
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National Transportation Safety Board

NTSB ID: LAX08FA203 Occurrence Date: 06/28/2008 Occurrence Type: Accident

PRELIMINARY REPORT AVIATION
Weather Information
Temperature: Wind Speed: 11
(Continued from page 2)

39 ° C
Kts.

Dew Point: Gusts: 18

1 °C
Kts.

Wind Direction: 110 Weather Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions

Administration Data
Notification From Date Local Time

WP ROC
FAA District Office/Coordinator

06/28/2008
Investigator-In-Charge (IIC)

Las Vegas FSDO Martin F. Kay

Eliott Simpson

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