Pierce County Airport: Puyallup, Washington

Airport is located 5 miles south of Puyallup.

Airport History;

Pierce County Airport Today:  Intensive flight training, banner towing, gyroplane, helicopter operations, military operations, soaring and ultralights;

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Find Pierce County Airport Services and Amenities:  SpanaFlight; Spencer Aircraft; Talon Aviation, LLC;

Pierce County Airport Special Events & Attractions: Puyallup Fair in September; Natural Outdoor tour; Northwest Trek;

Pierce County Airport Area Accident History:

On May 1, 2009, about 1500 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182Q, N382CH, collided with terrain during an off airport forced landing following a loss of engine power at Puyallup, Washington. Avstar Aviation was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The certificated airline transport pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the airframe, rudder, and wings from impact forces. The local personal flight was departing. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The operator reported that this was the first flight following an annual inspection. Maintenance personnel completed a 10-minute ground run of the engine without any difficulties prior to the accident flight.

The pilot reported that he experienced no anomalies during start, taxi, run-up, or the takeoff. He stated the engine lost power about 100 feet above ground level.
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The pilot was just turning onto the downwind leg when the airplane's engine suddenly lost power without warning. The pilot was unable to get the engine to restart and he selected what looked like a level field of tall grass for his emergency forced landing. Just after touching down in the field, the airplane hit a number of tree stumps that had been hidden by the tall grass. The impact sequence resulted in extensive damage to the fuselage, wings, and landing gear. A post-accident inspection of the engine, fuel system, and air induction system determined that the fuel tanks were nearly full, and that there were no apparent anomalies that would have contributed to a loss of engine power.
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According to the pilot, the landing approach "looked good." During the flare, the airplane "hit wind shear" and landed "a little hard." The pilot added power and executed a go around. He heard a banging noise coming from beneath the airplane and declared an emergency. He elected to return to the airport and landed off the runway in a grassy area. During the emergency landing, the airplane settled onto the right wing. The pilot reported that he determined the right main landing gear had separated during the hard landing and remained attached to the airplane only by the brake line. Closer inspection revealed that the two upper torque link attach lugs on the right main landing gear strut cylinder (P/N 65319-04) had separated. Both separation surfaces displayed beach marks, ratchet marks, and areas of discoloration indicative of preexisting cracks. Research revealed that on August 18, 2003, the airplane manufacturer (Piper) had issued Service Bulletin 1131,
which called for an inspection of the main landing gear cylinder upper torque link attach lugs for cracks in the area where the subject cylinder failed. This Service Bulletin had not been performed on the accident airplane.
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The pilot said that he had approximately 1,800 hours of flight experience in helicopters, and was a flight instructor for the army. He was adding the gyroplane rating. He had 13 hours of training, and this was his first solo flight. He said that on his third landing, he was performing a power off 180 degree landing. He said that he flared one to two feet higher than planned, and he added a little power to "smooth out" the touchdown. When the power came in, the engine torque rotated the nose of the gyroplane to the right. The right main gear hit the ground, and the aircraft bounced back and fourth on its main landing gear. Subsequently, the gyroplane rolled onto its right side bending its blades, mast, and horizontal and vertical stabilizer.

Pierce County Airport Approach/Landing Video:

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