Quite concerning to read about another Piper which has come apart in the air. I am starting to wonder about their structural strenght in comparison to other makes.
“Another”? Are you referring to the Embry-Riddle PA28 that lost a wing? I can’t say I have the impression that Piper aircraft break up in flight more often than other makes.
What others do you have in mind? Is there a statistic of midair breakups somewhere available? Would really be quite interesting to see some data on it – and quite concerning if it was really a structural issue on Pipers or Piper Twins.
To the specific accident: Looks like there have been massive cells around the accident site. Would be good to get some information if he might have hit one of them.
In addition one observation on some photos that are around: One can clearly see one engine that obviously hit ground away from the wreck. I have, however, not seen a pic yet where one can see a part of the wing connected to that engine. Could it also be, that not the wing but “only” one engine separated from the plane? How are the engines connected to the wings in Senecas?
Interesting – this is the one that one can see separated on the accident photos.
So at least there is a line of events imaginable where the engine mount broke or got weakened during the prior event but this remained unnoticed at the shock loading inspection. That pre existing damage together with heavy turbulences could have lead to the separation of the engine in flight…
Q: What type of inspection of the engine mount is typically performed during a shock loading inspection?
I believe the strut wing Cessnas have a good safety record wrt in flight structural failures, although the early 180/182 stabilator jack screw trim system is likely to get an AD. A 180 did break up in Alaska in mountain wave, but generally the fixed gear strut wing Cessnas may be above average in terms of airframe strength in flight. Obviously lots of ageing issues.
The Mooney has an indestructible wing structure, but that doesn’t prevent the tail feathers failing.
The Piper modern fleet has a good record outside severe convective encounters, and spiral dive VMC into IMC incidents. The Embry Arrow being the main incident I believe.
Apparently broke apart in the air in convective weather. […] Quite concerning to read about another Piper which has come apart in the air.
All bets are off once you get into convective weather. It’s likely the design strength was exceeded by a great degree.
Pipers aren’t just falling out the sky. There is just one instance I can think of where a break-up happened without an immediate cause behind it, the Embry-Riddle crash. There were tens of thousands of these things made over decades, flying millions of hours a year, and they aren’t just breaking up in flight.
Apparently broke apart in the air in convective weather.
Quite concerning to read about another Piper which has come apart in the air. I am starting to wonder about their structural strenght in comparison to other makes..
Not sure about any piper structural issue, the spare thingy has to do with cycles & hours?
On weather, AFAIK wood & fabric gliders do bloody well in severe convective weather or waves, in the other hand, I think all GA aircrafts lose their wing flying at 70 times square-root of their wing load and they get bent at 6G/-3G, these are easily achieved with engine running at max power & loss of visual references rather than “severe weather”…
The bulletin (in German) by the BFU is out. Page 49 and following.
In short, this airplane was in cruise in FL090 when it deviated from it’s course inbound GTQ VOR and reported “some turbulence” before disintegrating in the air and falling to the ground in pieces.
The airframe was built in 1990 and had 6319 hours. Both engines were almost new with 22 hours if I understand the bulletin correct. The aircraft had been registered in Switzerland previously and was only in Germany for a short time before the accident. (The airframe turned out be the former HB-LQY of Malbuwit, a flight school in Bern. I did most of my initial CPL/IR on it at the time… so this one hits home)
The pilot had 548 hours total time and carried an IR and MEP rating as well as SEP, night and aerobatic ratings. (If I understand it correctly, he was also the owner)
The weather is not discussed in depth in this bulletin, but it is mentioned that embedded CB’s had been forecast in the area.
The airplane came down scattered over a large area. While one propellor was found sticking in the ground almost undamaged, it is unclear what the implications are. Obviously, if separated from the airplane at altitude, it would most probably stop on the way down.
There are no indications as to the cause of the accident in this preliminary report.
Question which arises in my mind is as to the structural integrity of Piper models in general. Way too many appear to break up in the air, as opposed to other makes.
Way too many
How many? And what do you compare it to?
Question which arises in my mind is as to the structural integrity of Piper models in general
These questions are quite easily answered when the crack surfaces are examined.
All in all, it looks like weather / loss of control are the triggers, but of course the airframe could have started to break before it reached its design limits.