Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bellanca 7GCBC, N36286: Accident occurred August 4, 2012 in Imperial, Nebraska

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA517 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 04, 2012 in Imperial, NE
Aircraft: BELLANCA 7GCBC, registration: N36286
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On August 4, 2012, about 0713 mountain daylight time, a Bellanca 7GCBC, N36286, sustained substantial damage when it impacted rising terrain while maneuvering near Imperial, Nebraska. The pilot was fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to German Land and Cattle and operated by the pilot as a business flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Imperial Municipal Airport (IML), about 30 minutes before the accident.

The pilot reportedly used the airplane for various uses including checking livestock water tanks and herding cattle. A family member that was interviewed at the accident site was not sure what the purpose of the accident flight was, but commented that there were no cattle or water tanks in the immediate area of the accident. He speculated that the pilot may have been flying back to IML when the accident occurred.

The initial impact point was located on the west side of a ridge about 3.5 miles south of Imperial, Nebraska. The general direction of travel at the time of the initial impact was to the east. The terrain in the area consisted of rolling hills with the tops varying in elevation. Some of the ridges rose above the valleys below by an estimated 100 to 150 feet. The hill that was impacted was one of the tallest in the immediate area of the accident. The initial impact point was about 10 feet below the top of the ridge in the direction of the airplane’s travel. To the south, the ridge continued to rise. To the north the ridge descended to a valley below. After the impact with the hill, the airplane traveled over the ridge to the east and into a valley on the east side of the ridge. It came to rest pointed in a predominately north direction. The initial impact point included 2 ground scars spaced approximately the same distance apart as the airplane’s main landing gear spread. Another ground scar was centered between the 2 landing gear scars and continued from this point in an eastward direction for about 10 feet. This scar was consistent with the impact of the fuselage. A fourth scar was found to the south and east of the landing gear scars. This scar was consistent with right wing impact.


As investigators continue to probe the cause of a Saturday morning single-engine airplane crash that took the life of Scot German, 54, of Imperial, family members remember the lifelong pilot as a loving man who cared about people. 

Scot’s younger brother Eric remembered Scot as a “great brother and father who will really be missed.”

He added, however, “I don’t feel sorry for him. I feel sorry for us. We lost Scot but he gained heaven. I am totally happy with where he is.”
Eric said his brother cared about people and kids and “whether they knew Christ as their savior.”

In that light, if there was something he could do to be involved to promote and glorify Christ, “he’d find it,” Eric said.

A good example is his many years involved with the Awana youth program in Imperial, he said. Scot was also a Sunday School teacher.

Family was a very important part of Scot’s life, according to his brother.

Eric said Scot would work hard all day so he “could get off work to be with his family. That was very important to Scot,” he said.

After Scot’s graduation in 1976 from Chase County High School, he entered the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where, as a sophomore, he earned one of 10 spots on the coveted Wings of Blue parachute team.

After graduating from the Academy in 1980, he entered basic flight training in Enid, Okla., where he trained as an F16 fighter pilot. He served first in Germany for three years, then was assigned to Japan, where he met his wife, Linda. After three years there, the couple spent a year in language school in California, learning Dutch before Scot served as an exchange pilot for two years with the Belgium Air Force during Desert Storm.

After returning to the family farming and ranching operation in Imperial in 1991, he continued to serve as a Nebraska recruiter for the Air Force Academy.

Eric noted his brother’s return to the local farming and ranching operation was totally a family-centered decision.

“He did that because it would be better for his family,” he said.

Crash in rugged pasture

Authorities believe the crash occurred shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday, about five miles south of Imperial in rugged pasture owned by the German Land & Cattle Co.
The crash was initially discovered by the Imperial Volunteer Fire Department (IVFD), which was called to fight a grass fire in that area early Saturday morning.

The Champion Citabria 7GCBC plane caught fire after the crash and caused the grass to ignite.

Chase County Sheriff Kevin Mueller said the preliminary investigation shows German left the Imperial airport between 6:55 and 7:05 a.m.

The grass fire, spotted by a passer-by, was called in at 7:13 a.m.

Sheriff Mueller said the plane was traveling east and impacted the west side of a hill, tumbled over the top of the hill and into a low spot on the other side and caught fire.

Eric German was on the scene shortly after the discovery, according to the sheriff, and identified the wreckage as the plane taken up by his brother that morning.

He believes Scot was in the plane that morning checking the livestock water tanks.

Personnel with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were called in to conduct the investigation. It could be several weeks before the report is finished, according to local authorities. 

Sheriff Mueller said the FAA was first on the scene and conducted its preliminary investigation Saturday and Sunday, then turned over the investigation to the NTSB. An autopsy was also ordered by County Attorney Arlan Wine.

After the plane crash was discovered, the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies were called to the scene and stayed on site for security until the FAA arrived about 5 p.m. Saturday.

Mueller said he was assisted locally by the Imperial Police Department, IVFD, County Emergency Manager Paul Kunnemann and Imperial EMS.

A memorial service for German was held Tuesday afternoon at Imperial’s Crossroads Wesleyan Church, attended by an estimated 700 people who were seated in both the multi-purpose room and the existing sanctuary.

At the conclusion of the service, Linda, flanked by their five children—Sara, Jilanne, Shane, Kevin and Cindy—was presented an American flag by the F. E. Warren Air Force Base Honor Guard from Wyoming.

A full obituary will follow in a later issue.

http://www.imperialrepublican.com




IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 36286        Make/Model: 7GCB      Description: 1973 BELLANCA 7GCBC
  Date: 08/04/2012     Time: 1300

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

LOCATION
  City: IMPERIAL   State: NE   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 1 PERSON ON BOARD WAS 
  FATALLY INJURED, WRECKAGE LOCATED 3 MILES FROM IMPERIAL, NE

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

OTHER DATA
  Activity: Pleasure      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: LINCOLN, NE  (CE09)                   Entry date: 08/06/2012

http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?NNumbertxt=36286

http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/N36286.html

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