August 02, Galion, Ohio / Piper Seneca


At about 1500 eastern time, a Piper PA-34-200T struck trees while maneuvering near Galion. The pilot and one passenger were killed, two other passengers suffered serious injuries. The flight had departed Akron VFR about 50 minutes earlier but there were instrument conditions in the area. The pilot was receiving flight following to Galion and, as he approached, asked the controller where the airport was. The controller said the airplane was directly underneath. There were no further communications with the pilot. A flight instructor at the airport said he saw the airplane fly over the airport at about 600 feet agl with the gear down and the flaps extended and enter a downwind leg for runway 05. There was moderate rain and frequent lightning and wind gusts at the time. The witness then saw the airplane about 25-50 feet above the runway centerline, halfway down the runway, with gear down and partial flaps extended. It began a climb and disappeared into heavy rain. The witness said the wind was gusting up to 50 mph. A surviving passenger, the pilots wife, said they had clear weather until they got to the destination, at which point they encountered heavy rain. When the pilot added power to climb out of the weather, he kept repeating, It wont climb, it wont climb. The pilot held flight instructor certificates for both single and multi engine airplanes and reported 1,300 hours experience on his last medical application.


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