Update: The NTSB has reconsidered its finding of facts in the accident reported here. They have chosen to accept that the cause of this unfortunate accident is unknown and that there may be other causes which are undeterminable. This change by NTSB was effected only after the families of the loved ones appealed the NTSB decision and then it took three years for the appeal to be processed to the families acceptance and the acceptance of those that helped with the appeal, other GA pilots. (comment October 29, 2008, Ralph Baird, geophysical engineer, commercial pilot, Advisor, Texas EquuSearch).
NTSB Number: IAD05FA146
The above NTSB report and conclusions are misleading and inaccurate. The probable cause of the aircraft accident and three (3) deaths is probably a mechanical problem with the rigging of the tail stabilator/rudder. This different determination would help other owners of this type aircraft avoid similar accidents. A better recommendation is to issue a notice for better inspections by qualified mechanics in this specific aircraft.
I learned not to trust the judgment of the NTSB. I learned that A&P mechanics do not do a good job when they have little experience in a more complicated aircraft such as the T-tail Piper Arrow. In subsequent hanger-classroom-discussions, other pilots feel the same as I do and many will not fly in this particular aircraft and independently said they have felt that way for years.
To review flight path summary of N8164H, click here This file is corrupted.
To view NYSP Oct 4 sonar image click here
To view Oct 12 sonar images click here
To view Oct 12 Survey #2 Mosaic click here
To go to BPI Baird Petrophysical Driller's Web Site click here
To go to Level-3 Communications Klein Associates click here
To go to Texas EquuSearch Web Site click here
Contact Texas EquuSearch of Dickinson, Texas for further information: tim.miller @ texasequusearch.org
Texas EquuSearch Office
4013 FM 517, Suite B Dickinson, Texas 77539
P. O. Box 395, Dickinson, Texas 77539
Office: (281) 309-9500
Fax : (281) 534-6719
Toll Free: (877) 270-9500
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On August 26, 2005, about 2115 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28RT-201, N8164H was destroyed when it impacted the waters of Lake Erie, about 10 nautical miles north of Dunkirk, New York. The certificated commercial pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which originated at Zelienople Municipal Airport (8G7), Zelienople, Pennsylvania, and was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control radar and voice communication data, the accident airplane approached the Niagara Falls area from the south, about 2050. The airplane then completed four 360-degree turns in the vicinity of the falls.
At 2058, the pilot contacted Buffalo Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility and requested flight following services for the return trip to Zelienople. The airplane was radar-identified by the air traffic controller, and the pilot was told to proceed on course. No further radio transmissions were received. At 2100, the airplane established an approximate 210-degree ground track.
The radar data was plotted onto a map, and a line was drawn from the point where the airplane began to track on the 210-degree course, to Zelienople Airport. The resulting map showed that the airplane's track roughly followed this line.
About 2105, the airplane crossed the Canadian shoreline of Lake Erie, and continued out over open water. Over the next 4 minutes, the airplane roughly paralleled the course line for a time, then drifted to the west. At 2109, and over the next minute, the airplane began a right turn 60 degrees away from the plotted course line. About 2110, the airplane turned sharply left, about 80 degrees to a 190-degree track, back toward the plotted course line. About 2112, the airplane began another right turn to the west.
About 2113, the airplane began a sharp turn to the left. Over the next 70 seconds, and inside an area of about 1 square nautical mile, the airplane continued through 270 degrees of turn, and the altitude varied between 4,700 and 4,400 feet before the airplane disappeared from radar.
The final Mode-C (altitude reporting) radar target was observed at 2114:33, at 42 degrees 39 minutes 46.760 seconds north latitude, 79 degrees 18 minutes 40.979 seconds west longitude, at an altitude of 4,400 feet.
The final beacon-only (no altitude reporting) radar target was observed at 2114:43, at 42 degrees 39 minutes 53.396 seconds north latitude, 079 degrees 18 minutes 34.215 seconds west longitude.
The United States Coast Guard commenced a search and rescue (SAR) operation on August 26, 2005, about 2230. On August 29, 2005, about 2030, SAR operations ceased. During the SAR, and subsequent searches conducted by U.S. and Canadian authorities, three seats of a type known to be installed in general aviation airplanes, and various personal effects were recovered.