November 7, 2009, Tucson, Ariz., Piper PA-32R-300


The airplane experienced a partial loss of engine power in cruise flight and the pilot made an emergency landing on a highway at 1553 Mountain time. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane sustained structural damage to the fuselage after departing the highway and impacting cacti prior to coming to rest upright. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, he had been cleared from 5500 feet down to 4500 feet in preparation for landing. No problems were encountered with the descent; however, when he leveled off he noted a loss of engine power. He reported that the engine was still running, but it was not producing enough power to maintain altitude. The pilot landed the airplane on the highway, but the landing gear collapsed and the airplane veered off the road, striking cacti.


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