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NTSB Prelim: Piper PA-24

Airplane Departed From Runway 36, And Subsequently Began A Turn Back Toward The Runway

Location: Eufaula, AL Accident Number: ERA24FA102
Date & Time: January 31, 2024, 13:25 Local Registration: N5520P
Aircraft: Piper PA-24 Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On January 31, 2024, about 1325 central standard time, a Piper PA-24-180, N5520P, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Weedon Field Airport (EUF), Eufaula, Alabama. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the airport manager, she saw the pilot on the day of the accident on the ramp and they spoke briefly. She subsequently observed the airplane taxiing for departure but did not observe it takeoff. On February 1, 2024, a pilot who was taxiing for departure reported that he observed a crashed airplane at the end of runway 36. The wreckage was located about 300 feet from the departure end of runway.

Initial review of automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data revealed that the airplane departed from runway 36, and subsequently began a turn back toward the runway. The tracking data ended during the 180° turn.

The airplane came to rest oriented on a magnetic heading of about 70°. All primary flight control surfaces remained attached to the airplane. The nose of the airplane was crushed aft to the cockpit and partially separated from the fuselage. Flight control continuity was established for all primary flight control surfaces. The engine and avionics instruments were destroyed by impact. The empennage displayed crush damage and remained partially attached. The horizontal and vertical primary control surfaces remained connected to the empennage and were unremarkable. The wings remained attached to the fuselage and exhibited impact damage.

The airplane was recovered for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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