Friday, August 26, 2016

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N17SK: Accident occurred August 25, 2016 near Sky King Airport (3I3), Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Indianapolis FSDO-11

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA333
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 25, 2016 in Terre Haute, IN
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N17SK
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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 August 25, 2016, about 1910 eastern daylight time, a Cessna model 172N single-engine airplane, N17SK, was substantially damaged when it collided with trees and a house while on final approach to runway 26 at the Sky King Airport (3I3) located near Terre Haute, Indiana. There were two private pilots onboard. One pilot sustained fatal injuries and the other serious injuries. 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. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight that departed 3I3 about 1816.

A witness, who was a flight instructor providing ground instruction at the airport, reported that the accident airplane approached from the north and entered the traffic pattern for runway 26 (3,557 feet by 50 feet, asphalt). He then observed the airplane touchdown between the half-moon runway turnoff and the runway 18/36 intersection. After landing, the airplane was observed to back-taxi on runway 26 before it departed again. The witness described the next landing approach as being "high and fast" and that a go-around was performed before the airplane crossed over the displaced threshold. The witness did not observe the subsequent landing approach or the crash.

Another witness, located near the accident site, reported that he heard an airplane pass over his house and that it was much louder than typical. He then saw the airplane traveling at a low altitude and slow speed before he heard it collide with a tree. The witness reported that, following the collision with the tree, he heard the airplane increase engine power before it crashed into the house.

According to preliminary information, the current owner of the accident airplane was attempting to sell the airplane and that the accident flight was with a potential buyer. The pilot who survived the accident was unable to provide a written statement or to be interviewed before the release of this preliminary report. According to fire department personnel, following the accident, the potential buyer was recovered from the left cockpit seat and the current airplane owner was recovered from the right cockpit seat.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the current airplane owner, age 63, held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land airplane rating. His last aviation medical examination was completed on May 16, 2016, when he was issued a third-class medical certificate with a limitation for corrective lenses. A search of FAA records showed no previous accidents, incidents, or enforcement proceedings. His last flight review, as required by FAA regulation 61.56, was completed upon the issuance of his private pilot certificate dated July 14, 2015. The pilot's flight history was reconstructed using logbook documentation. His most recent pilot logbook entry was dated July 31, 2016, at which time he had accumulated 135.5 hours total flight time, of which 48.6 hours were listed as pilot-in-command. All of his flight time had been completed in a Cessna model 172N single-engine airplane. He had accumulated 5.0 hours in actual instrument meteorological conditions, 12.9 hours in simulated instrument meteorological conditions, and 3.4 hours at night. He had flown 24.7 hours during the prior 12 months, 4.4 hours in the previous 6 months, 2.4 hours during prior 90 days, and 1 hour in the 30 day period before the accident flight. The pilot's logbook did not contain any recorded flight time for the 24 hour period before the accident flight.

According to FAA records, the potential buyer, age 60, held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land airplane rating. His last aviation medical examination was completed on November 6, 2014, when he was issued a third-class medical certificate with a limitation for corrective lenses. A search of FAA records showed no previous accidents, incidents, or enforcement proceedings. A pilot logbook was not recovered during the on-scene investigation; however, on the application for his current medical certificate, he reported having accumulated 120 hours of flight experience.

The accident airplane was a 1980 Cessna model 172N, serial number 17273809. A 160-horsepower Lycoming model O-320-H2AD reciprocating engine, serial number L-495-76T, powered the airplane through a fixed-pitch, two blade, McCauley model 1C160/DTM7557 propeller, serial number 82011. The airplane had a fixed tricycle landing gear, was capable of seating four individuals, and had a certified maximum gross weight of 2,300 pounds. The airplane was issued a standard airworthiness certificate on February 13, 1980. According to an airplane utilization logbook, the airplane's HOBBS hour meter indicated 3,903.7 hours before the accident flight. The airplane's HOBBS hour meter indicated 3,904.6 hours at the accident site. The airframe had accumulated a total service time of 15,073 hours. The engine had accumulated a total service time of 9,554.6 hours since new. The engine had accumulated 378.6 hours since being overhauled on August 1, 2013. The last annual inspection of the airplane was completed on December 9, 2015, at 15,025.1 total airframe hours. A postaccident review of the maintenance records found no history of unresolved airworthiness issues. The airplane had a total fuel capacity of 42 gallons (40 gallons usable) distributed between two wing fuel tanks. A review of fueling records established that the airplane fuel tanks were topped-off on July 31, 2016. According to available information, the airplane had flown 1.8 hours since the last refueling.

The nearest aviation weather reporting station was located at Terre Haute International Airport (HUF), Terre Haute, Indiana, about 7 miles south-southeast of the accident site. At 1853, the HUF automated surface observing system reported the following weather conditions: wind 280 degrees true at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 31 degrees Celsius, dew point 23 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting 30.03 inches of mercury.

The initial point-of-impact was the top of a large 50-foot tall oak tree located about 190 feet east of the house where the main wreckage came to rest. The oak tree was located along the extended runway 26 centerline about 1,355 feet from the runway displaced threshold. There were numerous small limbs and leaves distributed between the initial point-of-impact and the house. Based on the orientation of the wreckage in the house, the accident airplane descended through the roof of the house in a near vertical flight path. A postaccident examination of the airplane confirmed flight control cable continuity from all flight control surfaces to their respective cockpit controls. The wing flaps were found extended 10-degrees. The throttle and mixture controls were full open and full rich. The magneto switch was found in the BOTH position. The carburetor heat control was found ON. The fuel selector was positioned to draw fuel from both wing fuel tanks. No fuel was recovered from either wing tank; however, there was a significant odor of aviation fuel at the accident site beneath the wreckage. Additionally, a witness reported seeing fuel drain from the wreckage immediately following the accident. The airframe fuel strainer contained a blue fluid consistent with 100 low lead aviation fuel. The fuel recovered from the strainer did not contain any water or particulate contamination.

The engine remained attached to the firewall by its mounts. Mechanical continuity was confirmed from the engine components to their respective cockpit controls. Internal engine and valve train continuity was confirmed as the engine crankshaft was rotated. Compression and suction were noted on all cylinders in conjunction with crankshaft rotation. The spark plugs were removed and exhibited features consistent with normal engine operation. The single-drive dual magneto provided spark on all leads as the engine crankshaft was rotated. A borescope inspection revealed no anomalies with the cylinders, valves, or pistons. There were no obstructions between the air filter housing and the carburetor. The carburetor fuel bowl contained residual liquid that had the odor of 100 low-lead aviation fuel. The propeller had separated from the engine crankshaft flange. Both propeller blades exhibited S-shape bends, blade twisting, and chordwise burnishing.

Todd Fox with the NTSB and Donald Shipman III and William Schneider of the FAA look over the propeller of the single- engine Cessna that crashed Thursday evening north of Terre Haute. The two government entities as well as representatives of insurance companies and manufacturers were at the scene most of the day Friday.

Todd Fox, inspector with the NTSB gave a brief press conference mid-day Friday before the actual work of removing the plane from the house and inspecting it began.

Todd Fox of the NTSB points to a section of the tail of the single-engine Cessna on Friday, the day after it crashed into a house north of Terre Haute. Donald Shipman and Jeff Holtz of the FAA listen in.

Two doctors, both on staff at Terre Haute Regional Hospital, were identified Friday as the men extricated from an airplane that crashed into a home Thursday near Sky King Airport in northern Vigo County.

Pathologist Patrick O’Neill and anesthesiologist John Trump were both airlifted from the crash scene to receive trauma care for critical injuries.

Trump was listed in critical condition Friday at Regional Hospital. Information on O’Neill, who was reportedly transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, was not available Friday afternoon.

“We ask for your continued thoughts and prayers for both physicians, their loved ones, and colleagues as they navigate this difficult time,” the hospital said in a statement released Friday.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration arrived on the scene Friday to collect evidence and examine the crash site.

NTSB investigator Todd Fox said checking the experience level of the pilot is part of the normal protocol for the crash investigation, as is looking into the maintenance history of the airplane.

Sheriff Greg Ewing said the owner of the house, Matt Fox, was at the scene most of the morning watching as investigators examined both the plane and the house. Several parts from the airplane, including a propeller, could be seen scattered across the lawn of the home.

A large crane was brought to the scene to remove the plane from the house. By early afternoon, the plane had been lifted and set nearby for continued access by investigators.

Ewing said it was unknown when a report on the accident would be released by the NTSB.

The plane, a single-engine Cessna registered to O’Neill, struck the house in the 3100 block of East Rosehill Avenue in North Terre Haute shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday.

The doctors were the only casualties reported. No people were inside the house when the plane hit, and Matt Fox’s dog later emerged uninjured.

Responders included the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department, Otter Creek Fire Department, Indiana State Police, State Excise Police, Trans-Care Ambulance and LifeLine.

North Terre Haute, IN   --   Crews removed the wreckage Friday afternoon from a plane that crashed into a home.

The accident happened Thursday night on East Rosehill Avenue in North Terre Haute.

A statement released by Terre Haute Regional Hospital says both occupants were part of their medical staff.

Dr. Patrick O'Neill is a pathologist and Dr. John Trump is an anesthesiologist.

Dr. O'Neill is in stable condition at a hospital in Indianapolis and Dr. Trump is in critical condition at Regional Hospital.

According to FAA records, O'Neill owned the plane that crashed into the home at 3112 East Rosehill Avenue.

The home is near the Sky King Airport and that's where the Vigo County Sheriff's Office says the personal plane was headed for landing, before disaster.

"I heard the plane coming in and then I heard him rev up real hard, and I could hear when he smacked the tree on top. Then he revved up so hard, it sounded like it stalled and then he clipped the tree right here next to the house. Then, it just nosedived over the wires and straight into the house," a neighbor told NBC 2 News.

Fortunately, the homeowner wasn't there when it happened.

A neighborhood resident tells NBC 2 News that he's lived in the area for about 16 years and has never been concerned about the planes that fly overhead.

"They do come in here awfully low," he described. "It's really surprising with a lot of the trees and wires that we haven't had an incident before now."

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what caused the plane to crash. Key things they'll be looking at are the pilot's level of experience, the engine of the plane, which is a Cessna 172 N Model, and its maintenance.

"A Cessna 172 aircraft is a very common aircraft, been in production for decades and decades. As for their safety record, it's been in production in a variety of models for decades," says Andrew Fox with the NTSB.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management was also on the scene Friday, collecting fuel samples to assess clean up after the plane's removal.

Fox says the NTSB should have the engine investigation wrapped up by Sunday.

A preliminary report should be released by the middle of next week. It could take 12 to 15 months before the agency releases a probably cause determination.

Story and video:

Emergency responders had to extricate two men from a single-engine plane after it crashed into a home in northern Vigo County shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday.

“We had two patients who were extricated from the aircraft,” Josh Craft of the Otter Creek Fire Department told reporters. “The extent of the injuries are unknown at this time. We do not know why the aircraft crashed. There will be an ongoing investigation.”

Both men were airlifted from the site by LifeLine helicopter.

Vigo County Sheriff Greg Ewing also was at the crash site in the 3100 block of East Rosehill Avenue in North Terre Haute.

“We received a call of a plane into a house,” Ewing said. “It looks like it was coming from the east [toward Sky King Airport]. It clipped those tree limbs right over there. My assumption would be it was headed for a landing.”

The Federal Aviation Administration registry shows the plane’s tail numbers registered to a single-engine Cessna Model 172N.

Ewing and Craft said the FAA had been notified, and its investigators are expected to arrive Friday morning.

“Now this becomes their scene,” said Ewing.

No people were inside the home when the airplane struck, resident Matt Fox said.

Fox was concerned about his fox terrier, Lilly, who eventually came out barking and apparently unharmed, drawing applause from the crowd that had gathered at the site.

Getting the men out of the wreckage was not easy for authorities.

“It obviously was a difficult extrication, not something we normally would train for,” Craft said. “But we worked quickly and worked as a team and got both patients out of the aircraft and loaded into helicopters.”

“One of the main concerns initially when the fire department arrived was the fuselage and the fuel that is held in the wings leaking into the house,” Ewing added. “That’s why you saw the fire department using foam to kind of blanket the area to prevent any type of fire because aircraft fuel is very flammable.”

Despite the risk, there were no reports of flames at the scene.

Craft said he wasn’t sure how long emergency personnel would be at the house.

“It could be quite a while,” he said. “I’m not sure. We’ve never had an aircraft incident like this, at least not in recent history. So it could be an extended stay.”

The home struck by the plane is behind Fox’s Meat Market & Grocery, across Clinton Street from Sky King Airport.

Quincey and Penni Smith said they’d lived in the neighborhood for about 10 years, and this was the first time they’d seen a plane hit a house despite close proximity of homes to Sky King Airport.

Penni called 9-1-1 after the crash, the Smiths said.

“I heard the initial crash from the trees, where it hit,” Quincey Smith said. “It sounded almost like a dump truck, like when they pick up dumpsters and slam ‘em down. It sounded like that, but it had a different sound to it.”

After he realized it was a plane crash, he ran back inside the house and told his wife to call authorities.

“I didn’t see it happen, but I heard it,” Penni said.

Agencies responding to the call, which came in at 7:07 p.m., were the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department, Otter Creek Fire Department, Indiana State Police, State Excise Police, Trans-Care Ambulance and LifeLine.

Ewing said this crash was a first for him, too.

“I don’t know if in my career of 26 years [in law enforcement] — we’ve had plane crashes — but I don’t know that I’ve ever worked a plane crashing into a house,” Ewing said.


VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – The FAA is expected to begin their investigation Friday morning after a plane crash into a home Thursday night on the north side of Terre Haute.

When News 10’s Melissa Crash was on the scene Friday morning there was only one officer on scene.

The accident happened after 7 p.m. near Sky King Airport.

Officials told News 10 two people were removed from the plane and airlifted to hospitals.

“It’s obviously a difficult extraction. Not something we would normally train for. But we worked quickly and got both patients out of the aircraft and loaded into helicopters,” Otter Creek Fire Department Public Information Officer Josh Craft said.

There was no one inside the home at the time of the crash.

According to online records, the plane was a 1980 Cessna 172N registered to William Patrick O’Neill.

The Vigo County Sheriff’s Office tells News 10 O’Neill was on the plane at the time of the crash. We don’t know at this time if he was the pilot or a passenger.


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