September 05, Bern Township, Pa. / Piper Chieftain


At 13:13 eastern time, a Piper PA-31-350 crashed as it was returning to land at Reading Regional/Carl A. Spaatz Field. The pilot was killed. The pilot was cleared for takeoff at 13:10 and called for a right turnout. The pilot called the tower on the local frequency to report he had a problem at 13:12, but conflicting radio traffic made the call unreadable. About 10 seconds later, the tower controller asked him if he required any assistance, but got no response. A subsequent transmission from the pilot was unreadable. At 1313, the controller told the pilot to fly left traffic for runway 36 and stated runway 31 was also available. There were no further communications from the pilot.Witnesses said the left engine was smoking but sounded like it was producing power. Two witnesses said it sounded like one engine was operating roughly. The airplane then rolled right and crashed. The pilot reported more than 3,200 hours total time, but the flight to Reading had been his first solo in the PA-31. He had flown 20.2 hours in the PA-31 prior to the accident flight and was about to begin training for a Part 135 check ride.


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