FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Lincoln FSDO-65
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 24, 2016 in Cozad, NE
Aircraft: PIPER PA 18-150, registration: N4234Z
Injuries: 1 Minor.
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On May 24, 2016, about 1025 central daylight time, a Piper PA-18-150 single-engine airplane, N4234Z, was substantially damaged after it impacted terrain during en route cruise near Cozad, Nebraska. The pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to a private individual and was operated by Gothenburg Flying Service, Inc., as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 agricultural application flight. Low visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed. The airplane had earlier departed from Fiese Airstrip (2NE5), Gothenburg, Nebraska, for the local flight.
The pilot reported he was flying at less than 50 feet above ground level (agl) when the airplane suddenly made an uncommanded descent. The right wingtip impacted terrain in a flat wheat field and the airplane came to rest inverted about 120 feet from the initial impact location. The impact resulted in substantial damage to both wings, both wing struts, the fuselage, and the tail surfaces. The pilot was able to exit the airplane without assistance and reported there had been adequate fuel onboard. There was no fuel spill and no postimpact fire.
The closest official weather reporting station was at KLXN, Lexington, Nebraska; located 12 miles southeast from the accident location at an elevation of 2,413 feet agl. At 1015 the automated surface observation system at KLXN reported wind from 180 degrees at 9 knots, visibility 10 miles, broken clouds at 1,000 feet above ground level, temperature 20 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 17 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.92 inches of mercury.