Monday, January 4, 2016

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N5104D: Fatal accident occurred January 03, 2016 in Wayne, Nebraska

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Final Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

National Transportation Safety Board   -  Aviation Accident Data Summary: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

National Transportation Safety Board   -  Docket And Docket Items:   http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA073
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 03, 2016 in Wayne, NE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/24/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N5104D
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The noninstrument-rated pilot planned to conduct a cross-country flight. Before departure on the second leg of the flight, the pilot obtained a weather briefing, which noted areas of instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions along his route of flight, including his destination airport. During the briefing, the pilot indicated that his vehicle and work was at his destination. The briefer and pilot discussed flying visual flight rules (VFR) over the cloud layer and possible alternate destination airports. The briefer suggested maintaining VFR flight and making an intermediary stop to again check the weather. The pilot elected to fly direct to his destination. During the flight, the pilot flew above the cloud layer and received VFR flight-following from ATC. The controller advised him that his preferred destination airport was currently under IFR conditions, but another airport was reporting VFR. The pilot elected to continue to the alternate destination airport. The pilot notified the controller he did not have visual contact with the ground and continued his descent. Shortly thereafter, the controller lost radar and radio communication with the pilot. About the time of the accident, a person in the area reported the weather conditions as, “clouds on the ground,” with low ceilings, and freezing fog and added that the visibility had changed from about 6 miles to less than ¼ mile in seconds. The airplane wreckage was located about 8 miles from the airport. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operations. A review of the pilot’s logbook revealed he had a total of about 111 flight hours. The accident is consistent with controlled flight into terrain in instrument meteorological conditions as the pilot continued the descent without the ground in sight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The noninstrument-rated pilot's improper decision to continue visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in a collision with terrain.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 3, 2016, about 1840 central standard time, a Cessna 172N airplane, N5104D, impacted terrain near Wayne, Nebraska. The airplane sustained substantial damage and the private rated pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the destination airport and the airplane was not on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Columbia Regional Airport (KCOU), Columbia, Missouri about 1540 and was en route to Sioux Gateway Airport/Col. Bud Day Field (SUX), Sioux City, Iowa.

The pilot had flown from the McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport (KMKL) Jackson, Tennessee, to KCOU. According to KCOU personnel, the pilot requested the airplane be "topped off" and the airplane was fueled with about 26 gallons of fuel. While there, the pilot contacted Flight Service Station (FSS) via telephone, for a weather briefing. The pilot stated that he wanted to conduct a visual flight rules (VFR) flight from KCOU to KSUX. He indicated that his vehicle and work was there in Sioux City. During the conversation with the briefer, the pilot was informed that the weather at KSUX was instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions and was expected to remain that way. The conversation continued with alternatives, such as flying VFR over the cloud layer, and then descending into the Wayne Municipal Airport (LCG) Wayne, Nebraska, and renting an automobile. The cloud tops en route were reported as 2,500 to 4,500 ft. above ground level (agl). The briefing also noted general areas where weather conditions were IFR and VFR.

As the pilot neared Sioux City, the air traffic controller reported IFR conditions at the Sioux City airport. The reported weather conditions at KLCG were 10 miles visibility with scattered clouds at 200 ft. agl, so the pilot decided to land at KLCG. Shortly after the pilot started his descent to KLCG, radar and radio communications were lost with the pilot.

A search located the airplane wreckage in a field, about eight miles east of KLCG. 

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with rating for airplane single-engine land; there was no record of him holding an instrument rating. The pilot was issued a third class medical certificate and student pilot certificate on August 13, 2014.

A review of the pilot's logbook revealed the last entry was dated November 11, 2015, and he had accumulated 111.7 total flight hours, with 109.2 in the accident airplane.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Cessna 172 is a high-wing, single-engine airplane, with fixed landing gear, powered by a reciprocating Lycoming four-cylinder O-320 engine and a fixed pitch propeller. A review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed the last annual inspection was completed on January 1,2015, with an airplane total time of 11,925.8 hours, an engine total time of 7,868.2 hours, and 1,487.7 hours since overhaul. The panel Hobbs meter read 1,251.3 hours. A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA records revealed the pilot purchased the airplane on August 25, 2014; however, he had not updated the airplane's registration. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1815, the automated weather observing system (AWOS) located at KLCG, about 7 miles northwest of the accident site recorded; wind calm, 10 miles visibility, a clear sky below 12,000 ft., temperature 9 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 7 degrees F, and a barometric pressure of 30.42 inches of mercury.

At 1855 the station recorded wind from 010 degrees at 4 knots, 10 miles visibility an overcast sky at 200 ft, the temperature10 degrees (F), and the dew point 9 degrees F.

No Significant Meteorological Information (SIGMET or Center Weather Advisories (CWA) were valid for the accident site at the accident time. 

Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET Sierra issued at 1445 was valid at the accident time. The AIRMET Sierra forecasted IFR conditions with a ceiling below 1,000 ft. agl and visibility below 3 miles in mist. Conditions were forecast to continue through 2100 to 0300 the following day.

A pilot rated witness to the weather conditions about the time of the accident was located about one half mile west of the accident location. He stated that the temperature was 15 degrees F and the fog was freezing. The clouds appeared to be of the cumulus variation and were on the ground as he drove through them. The visibility quickly reduced from more than 6 statute miles to less than ¼ statute miles. 

The pilot received a weather briefing from FSS. The briefing advised the pilot of IFR conditions, near his destination airport, along with forecast for IFR conditions. The opportunity to fly VFR over the cloud layer was discussed, along with monitoring weather en route. 

A Weather Study Report was prepared for this investigation; the Group Chairman's factual report is located in the docket for this accident.

COMMUNICATIONS

A review of air traffic control communications with the pilot revealed that shortly after departing KCOU, the pilot requested and received VFR flight following. As the flight neared his destination the pilot was in contact with the Sioux City approach controller. The conversation, over several minutes, between the controller and pilot:

Controller: How are your flight conditions?

Pilot: Flight conditions are clear above the clouds, I have, probably have easily 15 to10 miles visibility above the clouds

Controller: Roger, let me know when you get ground contact

Pilot: Will do

Pilot: What are the actual ceilings of this cloud coverage?

Controller: We're showing both at Wayne and Norfolk that they are VFR with extended clear, and Sioux City IFR, right now 700 ft. overcast.

Pilot: Thank you

Pilot: I have good line of sight on appears to be West Point

Controller: Roger, just let me know when you get ground contact

Pilot: Will do, sir

Controller: I'm showing you losing altitude; do you see the ground yet?

Pilot: Descending towards the south. Not yet, I'm sure getting fairly close 

There was a conversation between the pilot and controller, about runways at the Wayne airport.

Pilot: ok, sounds good, I'll do the 36, and can't see the ground yet, but will let you know, just as soon as I do

Controller: Roger

Pilot: "At 2,000 ft. and have not identified the ground yet"

Controller: Roger, We're now showing a scattered layer at Wayne, at 200 ft.

Pilot: You're not saying the ceiling is at 200 ft. are you?

Controller: No, it's a scattered layer at 200, that was as of 10 minutes ago.

Pilot: Okay

Controller: I'm starting to lose you on radar, what's your current altitude?

Pilot: current altitude is 1,800; no ground in sight

Controller: Roger, maintain VFR

Controller: Radar contact lost

Pilot: Roger, on radar contact lost

About a half a minute later, the controller asked if the pilot was still on frequency. The pilot did not respond to the controller, and there were no additional communications with the pilot.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The Wayne Municipal Airport / Stan Morris Field (KLCG), is a public-use, non-towered airport, located 2 miles east of Wayne, Nebraska. Pilots are to use the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) for communications. The airport featured a concrete runway 5/23, 3,406 ft. by 60 ft. asphalt runway 18/36, 4,201 ft. by 75 ft., and a turf runway. The airport is at an elevation of 1431.7 ft. and has an AWOS located on the field. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The on-site examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane's right wing impacted an open area of a snow covered, harvested, corn field. From the initial impact point, the wreckage path consisted of a large crater, then several small fragments of airplane. The wreckage path then continued to the main fuselage. The wreckage came to rest inverted, facing the direction of the wreckage path. Both wings had heavy leading edge damage; the main cabin was severely crushed; the empennage sustained minimal damage, and was nearly severed just aft of the baggage area. The engine and front cowling also had heavy impact damage; the two-bladed propeller remained attached to the engine. There was not a post-crash fire.

Aileron continuity was established at each of the wing bellcranks; however, the cables were bound by the amount of damage to the airframe. Control continuity for the elevators and rudders was established to their respective control surfaces. The flap actuator was measured at 1.25 inches extended, which corresponded to a flaps retracted position. The carburetor was broken from its mount, but remained attached by the controls. Residual fuel was found in the carburetor and gascolator; the fuel appeared clear of any contaminants. The gasolator screen was also clear of debris and contaminants.

The instrument panel had heavy impact damage. The attitude indicator was partially crushed; the unit was disassembled and scoring was noted on the gyro and its housing.

The Hobbs meter on scene read 1,311.5 hours.

The airplane was recovered to a salvage yard; an examination of the engine conducted by the NTSB, along with technical representatives from the engine and airframe manufacturers.

The engine, firewall, and part of the instrument panel had been separated from the airframe for recovery. The firewall, panel, and baffling were removed to facilitate the examination. The engine was rotated by hand; continuity was established to the accessory section of the engine and through the crankshaft and valve train. Pieces of the duel magneto were recovered; however, impact damage prevented a complete examination. 

The top spark plugs exhibited light colored combustion deposits and the electrodes exhibited worn out – normal signatures, in accordance with the Champion aviation check-a-plug chart. The oil pump screen was clear. The carburetor, which had separated from the engine during the accident was disassembled. The carburetor's floats had signatures, consistent with hydraulic compression. The fuel filter screen was absent debris and contamination. 

No pre-impact abnormalities were noted during the airframe or engine examinations.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Pathology Medical Services of Siouxland, PC, Sioux City, Iowa conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was determined to be, "multiple acute blunt force traumatic injuries".

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on the pilot. The specimens were not tested for cyanide. The test was negative for carbon monoxide and tested drugs. 

KENNETH L. LYONS:   http://registry.faa.govN5104D

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA073 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 03, 2016 in Wayne, NE
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N5104D
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. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 3, 2016, about 1840 central standard time, a Cessna 172N airplane, N5104D, impacted terrain near Wayne, Nebraska. The airplane sustained substantial damage and the private rated pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the destination airport and the airplane was not on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Columbia Regional airport (KCOU), Columbia, Missouri about 1540 and was en route to Sioux City, Iowa. 

A preliminary review of air traffic control communications with the pilot, revealed that shortly after departing KCOU the pilot requested and received visual flight rules (VFR) flight following. As he neared his destination, the controller reported instrument weather conditions at the airport, however the pilot reported that he was VFR on top. The reported weather conditions at the Wayne Municipal Airport (KLCG), Wayne, Nebraska, were 10 miles visibility with scattered clouds at 200 feet above ground level, so the pilot decided to land at KLCG. Shortly after the pilot started his visual approach to KLCG, radar and radio communications were lost with the pilot. 

When family members reported the airplane overdue, an ALNOT (Alert Notice) was issued. A search located the airplane wreckage in a field, about eight miles east of the Wayne Municipal airport. 

The on-site examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane's right wing impacted an open area of a snow covered, harvested, corn field. From the initial impact point, the wreckage path consisted of a large crater, then several small fragments of airplane. The wreckage path then continued to the main fuselage. The wreckage came to rest inverted, facing the direction of the wreckage path. Both wings had heavy leading edge damage; the main cabin was severely crushed; the empennage had only light damage, and was nearly severed just aft of the baggage area. The engine and front cowling also had heavy impact damage; the two bladed propeller remained attached to the engine. 

After the initial on-site documentation of the wreckage, the airplane was recovered for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Lincoln FSDO-65


 James Christopher Birk





We're finding out more about the pilot whose plane crashed in rural Nebraska over the weekend.

According to an area pilot and a co-worker of the man, the pilot was 31-years-old James Christopher Birk, better known as Chris by friends. He was flying the Cessna 172 when it crashed Sunday evening.

Birk was employed by Performance Contractors of Louisiana, which is the company doing construction on the CF Industries expansion.

According to his obituary, Birk was born in Lecedale, Mississippi, and most recently moved to Sioux City for work. He will be laid to rest on Jan. 9th in Savannah, Tennessee. Click here to read the entire obituary.

Birk was suppose to land in Sioux City, but was diverted to the Wayne airport because of foggy conditions.

Here is part of the exchange between Birk and air traffic controllers.

Chris Birk, pilot: "Sioux City approach this is Cessna n5104 delta; you read me?"

Chris Birk was nearly at Sioux Gateway airport when he was denied permission to land because of low visibility. He was redirected to the airport in Wayne, Nebraska.

Air Traffic Controller: "Cessna 04 delta - yeah, keep me advised on how the weather is on your way over there. We're showing VFR skies over Wayne, but we are socked in here in Sioux City and it might be spreading over that way. Keep us advised and we'll get you down safe."

Conditions worsened, apparently, impacting visibility.

Chris Birk, pilot: "5104 delta. Have not identified the ground yet."

Controller: "04 delta, roger, and we are now showing a scattered layer at Wayne at 200 feet."

It was around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday night when air traffic control last had contact with Chris.

Air Traffic Controller: "04 delta I'm starting to lose you on radar. What's your current altitude?"

Chris Birk, pilot:"Altitude is 1,800. No ground."

Air Traffic Controller: "04 delta, radar contact lost."

Air Traffic Controller: "04 delta still up?"

Chris Birk, pilot: "04 delta approach (cuts off)"

NTSB has finished the investigation on scene and have taken the debris to Colorado for further research.

They hope to have a cause of the crash determined by next week.

Story, video and photo gallery: http://www.siouxlandmatters.com


PENDER, NE (KTIV) -

Update:

The investigation continues into the death of a pilot whose plane crashed near Pender, Nebraska.

The plane was a single engine Cessna.

The small plane took off from Columbia, Missouri and was headed to Sioux City.

But airport officials diverted the flight because of bad weather.

"I got a call to be looking for a plane landing here at the Wayne Airport and this was approximately seven p.m. last night," said Wayne Hoffman of the Wayne Municipal Airport. "And we did a search here at the airport runways and everything. We did not find the plane and it did not show up here."

Crews searched the area between Pender and Concord for the missing plane overnight.

The wreckage was found around 1:30 Monday morning according to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The name of the pilot has not been released at this time.

Kenny Thomsen, the owner of the farm says he didn't find out about the crash until hours after it happened.

"You never know when it's at and this morning, vehicles kept going by the house and highway patrolmen went by," said Kenny Thomsen, the owner of the farm where the plane crashed. "And I seen- and I knew it had to be close and then when the fog lifted, I could see it."

Monday, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and Federal Aviation Administration officials were on scene to investigate.

Nebraska State Troopers were also there to safeguard the area.

Thomsen says he spoke with an FAA official Monday.

"He said that as soon as talked to a mechanic in Wayne, they'd come out with a flat bed and asked if I could help lift it up on there," said Thomsen.

An FAA spokesperson says the National Transportation Safety Board will be leading the investigation.

She said it could take between a year and 14 months to complete.

The spokesperson says there are lots of different agencies involved, and sometimes parts of the aircraft are sent to the manufacturer.

Previous Story:

The FAA has been called in to investigate a crash of a small plane near Pender, Nebraska. It happened on Sunday night and authorities said the crash claimed the life of the pilot.

The plane disappeared after being diverted from landing at Sioux Gateway Airport because of bad weather.

It was a single-engine Cessna that had left Columbia, Missouri and was bound for Sioux City.

Authorities said it was cloudy and foggy at the time of the crash.

It was reported missing from radar at 7:18 by officials at Sioux Gateway.

The plane should have arrived in Wayne about seven Sunday night.

Crews searched the area between Pender and Concord for the missing plane overnight.

"We did a search here at the airport runways and everything but we did not find a plane. It did not show up here. The police department came out and said there was a missing plane. So from there on it was search and rescue. I guess about two o'clock this morning we got news that they did find the plane," Jim Hoffman, with the Wayne Municipal Airport said.

The wreckage was found about 1:30 Monday morning outside Pender.

Authorities said the pilot was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The name of the pilot has not been released at this time.

The Wayne County Sheriff brought FAA officials to the plane crash site to investigate on Monday according to Nebraska State Troopers.

The pilot of a small plane is dead after the plane crashed in northeast Nebraska Sunday night.

Previous story:

According to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, the wreckage of the single-engine Cessna 172 was found about 1:30 Monday morning in rural Wayne County. The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene. Their name has not yet been released.

The plane, which took off from Columbia, Missouri, was scheduled to arrive in Wayne at 7 o'clock, but went off the radar.

Authorities say the Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City notified Wayne officials about the missing plane at 7:18 Sunday night. Sioux Gateway authorities diverted the flight from SUX to the Wayne Municipal Airport due to bad weather. Dense fog and thick clouds in the area at the time created low visibilities.

Crews searched the area between Pender and Concord for the missing plane overnight.

Tom Becker manages the Wayne County facility, and he says Columbia, Missouri was the last known stop for the aircraft.

Federal authorities are investigating the crash.

Story, video, comments and photo gallery: http://www.ktiv.com

Nebraska State Troopers are keeping the area around the crash secure. They say the NTSB is expected to come out here.


1 comment:

gretnabear said...

3,600 ft Pender Municipal Airport, NW of Pender, NE was in the flight path to Wayne.