Pierce County Airport:
Airport is located 5 miles south of Puyallup.
Pierce County Airport Today: Intensive
flight training, banner towing, gyroplane, helicopter operations, military
operations, soaring and ultralights;
Find Pierce County Airport Services and Amenities:
SpanaFlight; Spencer Aircraft; Talon Aviation, LLC;
Airport Special Events & Attractions: Puyallup
Fair in September; Natural Outdoor tour; Northwest
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
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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
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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
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
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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.
Airport Approach/Landing Video: