Thursday, September 01, 2016

Loss of Control in Flight: Cessna 170, N1726D; accident occurred August 31, 2016 at Range Regional Airport (KHIB), Hibbing, Saint Louis County, Minnesota

Wreckage Overview (Right Side)

Wreckage Overview (Front) 

Wreckage Overview (Aft) 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hibbing, MN
Accident Number: CEN16LA343
Date & Time: 08/31/2016, 1130 CDT
Registration: N1726D
Aircraft: CESSNA 170A
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 31, 2016, about 1130 central daylight time, a Cessna 170A airplane, N1726D, was substantially damaged while landing on runway 31 at Range Regional Airport (HIB), Hibbing, Minnesota. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that he arrived at HIB about 0800 to preflight the airplane before he departed about 0900 on a pleasure flight to Anderson Field, a private airstrip, located about 25 miles north of HIB near Bear River, Minnesota. The pilot stated that he made 8 uneventful landings at the private airstrip before taking a half hour break on the ground. He noted that the winds were "picking up" when departed the private airstrip about 1100 for the return flight to HIB. The pilot stated that the air was "turbulent" during the return flight to HIB. The pilot stated that his last recollection of the flight was when he entered the traffic pattern for runway 31 at HIB. The pilot was unsure if he "had a bad landing or tried to go around" when the accident occurred. The pilot stated that although he has a brief memory of a first responder speaking to him after the accident, his first substantive memory was after he woke up in the hospital a week after the accident.

According to the Hibbing Police Department, an individual called 911 around 1256 to report the accident. There were no witnesses to the final portion of flight.

The airplane was examined by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airworthiness Inspector. The FAA inspector stated that he did not observe any tire skid marks that could be associated with a loss of directional control after the airplane touched down. The initial point-of-impact was where the left wingtip hit the ground about 30 ft from the left edge of the runway. The airplane came to rest in the grass area along the left side of runway 31, about 1,375 ft from the approach end of runway 31 and about 65 ft off the left edge of the runway. The airplane was upright at the accident site and facing southeast. The forward fuselage was crushed aft, which was consistent with a nose-down impact. The wings exhibited upward bending near both wing tips and buckling along both wing roots. The upper wing surfaces were buckled along their entire span. There was no evidence of leading edge wing damage. The aft fuselage and empennage appeared undamaged. Flight control cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit controls to the ailerons, elevator, rudder, and flaps. Both flaps were found fully retracted, which was consistent with the position of the cockpit flap control lever. Both the pitch trim tab and the associated pitch trim indicator were in a mid-range position. The fuel selector had been turned off by a first responder; however, the first responder noted that there was fuel draining from a fuel line leading to the engine before the fuel selector was turned off. The left main landing gear leg was bent slightly forward. The right main landing gear leg appeared to be undamaged. The right brake system operated normally when tested. The left brake system could not be tested due to a damaged master cylinder; however, the remaining components of the left brake system did not exhibit any anomalies. The tailwheel assembly had fractured where it attached to the tailwheel spring; however, the observed fracture features were consistent with impact related damage. The tail wheel rotated freely and there was no evidence of a malfunction of the tailwheel steering components. The postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal airplane operation during the flight.

The engine remained partially attached to the firewall, and the propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange. Engine control cable continuity could not be verified due to impact related damage. The propeller blades exhibited minor chordwise scratches and leading edge damage. Both propeller blades exhibited aft bends. Compression and suction were noted on all six cylinders in conjunction with crankshaft rotation. The lower spark plugs were removed and exhibited features consistent with normal engine operation. The magnetos remained attached to their respective installation point and provided spark on all posts while the engine crankshaft was rotated. The carburetor had separated from the engine during impact. The postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal engine operation during the flight.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for single-engine land and sea airplanes. The pilot reported having about 160 hours of total flight experience, of which 21.5 hours were flown in the accident airplane. The pilot received his tailwheel endorsement the day before the accident.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 66, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied:Left 
Other Aircraft Rating(s):None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/13/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/29/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 160 hours (Total, all aircraft), 21.5 hours (Total, this make and model), 36.5 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N1726D
Model/Series: 170A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1951
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 20169
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/07/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 7 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2816.4 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: C145-2
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 145 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: HIB, 1354 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1153 CDT
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 340°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.23 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Bear River, MN (PVT)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Hibbing, MN (HIB)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1100 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Range Regional Airport (HIB)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1354 ft
Runway Surface Condition:Dry 
Runway Used: 31
IFR Approach:None 
Runway Length/Width: 6758 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Unknown

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 47.380833, -92.831111 (est)

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA343
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 31, 2016 in Hibbing, MN
Aircraft: CESSNA 170A, registration: N1726D
Injuries: 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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 31, 2016, about 1300 central daylight time, a Cessna model 170A single-engine airplane, N1726D, was substantially damaged while landing on runway 31 at Range Regional Airport (HIB), Hibbing, Minnesota. The private pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight. The accident flight's departure airport and time are currently unconfirmed.

HIBBING — The investigation into what caused a small plane to crash at Range Regional Airport (RRA) Wednesday afternoon has begun.

Barrett Ziemer, assistant director of the Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority (CHAA), confirmed Thursday that a safety inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) office in Minneapolis had arrived and began digging into the incident.

“The investigation is underway,” he said, adding he had spent part of the day with the inspector. “… It’s pretty much a routine investigation.”

Ziemer noted the inspector is acting on behalf of both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The investigation thus far included looking over the aircraft, visiting where it went off the runway, looking through pilot logbooks and speaking with Hibbing police, who documented and photographed the site. Some additional information is still being sought, Ziemer said.

“At this point, the aircraft has been released back to its owner,” he said.

The pilot, identified as Side Lake resident Randy Beissel, was the plane's only occupant and is still recovering at a Duluth hospital. Extent of his injuries in unknown.

The Cessna 170 flew off the runway while trying to land and landed in the grass just before 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Beissel had appeared to be “doing touch and go practices” when the plane took a nosedive.

Wind is believed to be a factor, according to CHAA Executive Director Shaun Germolus. The plane landed about 75 feet off the edge of the pavement.

Beissel was conscious and later flown by Lifelink III to Duluth.

Response by emergency services was quick, Germolus said, and included airport personnel, Hibbing Fire Department, Hibbing Police Department and the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.

There was no fire in the incident, but fuel leaked from the plane, according to fire officials.

Operations at RRA were back to normal by late afternoon Wednesday, said Germolus.

“We’re back to business as usual,” he said Thursday.

Germolus anticipates calling a briefing session of emergency responders to review the incident in the near future.

“We’ll take a look at how it went, and see if we can learn a couple of things,” he added.


HIBBING, Minn. -  The Hibbing Fire Department responded at 12:57 p.m. to the report of a small general aviation plane crash.

The department responded with two engines, a battalion Chief vehicle and one medic unit.

The plane was reported to have crashed while landing and was confirmed to have one occupant, the pilot.

There was no fire, but there was fuel leaking from the plane. The Range Regional Airport ARFF fire truck responded and applied a blanket of foam to keep the fuels from igniting.

The male was flown by Life Link 3 helicopter to Duluth for injuries sustained during the crash. Airport staff says wind might have played a factor in the accident.

"This is the first time in 10 years we've experienced an aircraft accident here at this airport," said Airport Executive Director Shawn Germolus. "We're happy with the quick response today."

Story and video: 

Hibbing, MN ( - A small plane crashed on a runway shortly before 1:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon at Hibbing's Range Regional Airport, injuring the pilot, according to police.

The pilot was the only person in the plane at the time, and is from the Iron Range area.

The extent of the pilot's injuries are unknown, however, the man was flown by Life Link 3 to a Duluth hospital for precautionary purposes.

Airport Executive Director Shaun Germolus says the pilot has facial injuries, and was conscious throughout the event.

According to the Hibbing Fire Department, the plane crashed near the runway before landing in grass just south of the runway.

Germolus says the crash likely happened after a wing got caught on the grass because of the wind.

The plane did not burn, however fuel was leaking from the plane after the crash, and fire crews applied a foam blanket to keep fuels from burning.

Authorities have documented the scene, and have removed the Cessna aircraft from the site and brought it to an aircraft hangar before being investigated by the NTSB on Thursday.

The runway at the airport was temporarily closed, but reopened at 4:30 p.m. when the scene was cleared.

Germolus says this is the first crash that has happened during his ten years at the airport.

Story and video:

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