Accident Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six N8934N, Sunday 10 January 2010
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Date:Sunday 10 January 2010
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA32 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six
Registration: N8934N
MSN: 32-40734
Year of manufacture:1969
Engine model:Lycoming TIO-540 SER
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:near Pu'ulanipo mountain, Oahu, HI -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Lanai, HI
Destination airport:Honolulu-Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, HI (HNL/PHNL)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The non-instrument-rated pilot was on the return leg of his regular 63-nautical-mile commute between two islands. He was cleared for a visual flight rules arrival, which entailed passing over a very high frequency omni-directional radio aid (VORTAC), continuing over a golf course, and then following a freeway before entering the traffic pattern. The approach controller told the pilot to proceed to the VORTAC, but the pilot replied that he wanted a vector. The controller provided a vector and the pilot said that he did not have the island in sight. The controller told the pilot to resume his own navigation. The airplane flight path crossed over the VORTAC and proceeded north into mountainous terrain instead of the cleared arrival path. While the pilot said that he was in the rain at the golf course, radar data indicate that he was actually about 2.5 miles to the east of that location. About 1 minute 20 seconds later, the pilot said that he was inbound for landing, and the controller told him that he was heading toward the mountains. The pilot immediately requested a vector "to intercept landing," which was the last transmission he made. The controller told the pilot to make either a left or right turn southbound to a 180-degree heading. The airplane was substantially off course for almost 1 minute 30 seconds before impact. A group of hikers who were near the accident site heard the airplane operating in the clouds prior to impact. Weather at the time of the accident included light to moderate rain showers and reduced visibility that would have been encountered by the airplane. A postaccident examination revealed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure with the airframe or engine prior to impact.

Despite the pilot’s two radio calls suggesting disorientation during the flight’s final 90 seconds, the controller did not issue a safety alert to the pilot. Although the responsibility for flight navigation rests with the pilot, Federal Aviation Administration Order 7110.65, paragraph 2-1-6, directs controllers, in part, to “Issue a safety alert to an aircraft if you are aware the aircraft is in a position/altitude which, in your judgment, places it in unsafe proximity to terrain, obstructions, or other aircraft.” The investigation concluded that the controller had sufficient information to determine that a low altitude alert was necessary, as evidenced by her attempt to turn the airplane. A timely low altitude alert may have enabled the pilot to climb and avoid the accident. When the controller recognized that there was a problem with the airplane, she concentrated on correcting his lateral track rather than helping him immediately climb to a safe altitude.
Probable Cause: The pilot's continued visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions at an altitude insufficient to ensure adequate terrain clearance. Contributing to the accident was the air traffic controller's failure to issue a safety alert after observing the pilot's navigational deviation toward high terrain.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: WPR10FA107
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 12 months
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

10-Jan-2010 22:27 slowkid Added
10-Jan-2010 22:29 slowkid Updated [Source]
11-Jan-2010 01:08 RobertMB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
11-Jan-2010 02:32 Alpine Flight Updated [Operator, Other fatalities]
21-Dec-2016 19:25 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
26-Nov-2017 15:20 ASN Update Bot Updated [Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
11-Jun-2023 21:42 Ron Averes Updated

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