Accident to the PIPER – PA-28-181 Archer II registered N5352F on 04/07/2020 off the coast of the isle of Guadeloupe (Guadeloupe)

Investigation progression Closed
Progress: 100%

Cat. 2 investigation report: simplified-format report, adapted to the circumstances of the occurrence and the investigation stakes.

The pilot had just bought the plane and was piloting it for the first time to ferry it from Saint-Barthélemy to Pointe-à-Pitre. En route, over the sea, he was confronted with a reduction in engine speed. Unable to increase the engine speed or hold level flight, he was obliged to ditch with the help of his passenger, an experienced pilot.
Due, notably, to the wreckage not being recovered and examined, the investigation was not able to determine the cause of the engine failure during the flight. In particular, it was not possible to assess if the compliance with the manufacturer’s recommended TBO for the engine could have prevented this failure.
The following elements minimized the consequences of this accident:

  • both pilots had good knowledge of the ditching technique;
  • the two pilots spontaneously implemented multi crew cooperation;
  • the crew donned their lifejackets before ditching;
  • the presence of an onboard liferaft and its use;
  • the effective coordination between the controller and the rescue services during the search and rescue operations.