Accident Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga II HP N9236J,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 386567
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Date:Friday 12 April 2024
Type:Silhouette image of generic P32R model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga II HP
Owner/operator:Thunderbird Air LLC
Registration: N9236J
MSN: 3213067
Year of manufacture:1993
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Knoxville, TN -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Knoxville-McGhee Tyson Airport, TN (TYS/KTYS)
Destination airport:Grand Rapids-Gerald R. Ford International Airport, MI (GRR/KGRR)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
On April 12, 2024, about 1633 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-301, N9236J, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Knoxville, Tennessee. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The flight was operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight.

According to the pilot’s spouse, the pilot was returning to home on the day of the accident. Preliminary flight track data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration showed that the airplane departed from St. Petersburg, Florida, about 1130 and landed at Mc Ghee Tyson Airport (TYS), Knoxville, Tennessee, about 1530. The airplane was refueled and subsequently departed at 1617, on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan with a planned destination of Gerald R Ford International Airport (GRR), Grand Rapids, Michigan.

After departure from runway 23L at TYS, air traffic control cleared the pilot to climb to 10,000 ft. The airplane turned right to a northwest heading and began climbing on course. During the climb, the pilot reported that the airplane was accumulating “moisture.” Shortly thereafter, the pilot declared a “MAYDAY” as the airplane began to descend from an altitude of 8,500 ft. Flight track data indicated an abrupt left turn of about 90°, followed by a clockwise spiraling descent. The airplane’s ground speed increased rapidly until track data was lost about 1634, approximately 15 nautical miles from TYS.

A witness reported that he was outside his residence when he heard what initially sounded like a propeller-driven airplane, but then resembled a “car over-revving.” He looked up and observed an airplane “falling out of the sky, twirling” and descending below the clouds until he lost sight of it. Subsequently, he heard “parts hitting the ground” nearby. He then located what was later identified as the airplane’s vertical stabilizer and rudder.

The wreckage site was dispersed over a 2-mile area. The main fuselage came to rest in a heavily wooded area at the base of a tree. The fuselage consisted of the engine, cockpit, cabin section, and tailcone. Parts of the right wing were still attached to the fuselage at the main spar. The right wing was fragmented along the main spar, but the aileron, flap, and flight control cables were present at the accident site. The left wing was separated from the fuselage at the wing root and located about 1 mile from the main wreckage. The flap was separated from the wing and the aileron remained attached. The leading edge was torn revealing both the fuel bladder and a portion of the inboard fuel tank. The flight control cables were twisted and exhibited breaks consistent with overload.

The stabilator was broken in two pieces and located about 1.5 miles from the main fuselage in a heavily wooded area. The trim tab remained connected to the stabilator but was broken into two pieces. The stabilator and trim tab were impact damaged and buckled. The vertical stabilizer, with the rudder attached, was located 2 miles about from the fuselage and showed impact and buckling damage.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: 
Status: Preliminary report
Download report: Preliminary report


NTSB (photo)



Revision history:

12-Apr-2024 22:47 Captain Adam Added
13-Apr-2024 05:12 RobertMB Updated [Time, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Nature, Source, Embed code, Damage, Narrative, Category]
13-Apr-2024 05:20 RobertMB Updated [Location, Embed code, Narrative, Category]
13-Apr-2024 05:20 RobertMB Updated [[Location, Embed code, Narrative, Category]]
13-Apr-2024 05:21 RobertMB Updated [Category]
15-Apr-2024 16:03 RobertMB Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Source, Narrative]
17-May-2024 19:38 Captain Adam Updated [Time, Location, Source, Narrative, Accident report]

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