Friday, January 06, 2017

Runway Excursion: Cessna 172M Skyhawk, N80374; accident occurred January 06, 2017 at Hobart Sky Ranch Airport (3HO), Lake County, Indiana

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; DuPage County, Illinois

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hobart, IN
Accident Number: CEN17LA082
Date & Time: 01/06/2017, 1305 CST
Registration: N80374
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Runway excursion
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On January 6, 2017, about 1305 central standard time, a Cessna 172M, N80374, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Hobart Sky Ranch Airport (3HO), Hobart, Indiana. The pilot received serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot told a law enforcement officer that he approached the runway to land from the north and when the landing gear contacted the runway the airplane "skipped" and overshot the runway. The airport owner saw the airplane approach the runway to land and noticed that the airplane was traveling at a high speed. As the airplane touched down it "skipped" off of the runway and then crashed into a wooded area off the departure end of the runway. The pilot could not recall what happened between the time the airplane "skipped" off the runway and when emergency personnel arrived.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector who responded to the accident the pilot stated that the wind was from the west and he chose to land to the south. He stated that he noticed that his groundspeed "picked up" and he thought he had a tailwind. He elected to put the airplane on the runway and try to get it stopped.

The airplane came to rest about 150 ft beyond the departure end of the 3,125 ft. long runway in a thickly wooded area. Both wings, the engine, and the fuselage sustained substantial damage. The carburetor heat was "hot", the throttle and mixture were full forward, and the wing flaps were retracted. Chordwise scratches and leading-edge polishing were visible on one propeller blade. The condition of the second propeller blade was not documented. Scuff marks were present on each main landing gear. No skid marks or tire markings were evident on the last 450 ft of the runway. Tree limbs and brush were broken off about 3 ft above the ground along the path of travel from the runway to the wreckage. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 59, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
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: 10/10/2016
Occupational Pilot: 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 170 hours (Total, all aircraft), 150 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N80374
Model/Series: 172M M
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1976
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility
Serial Number: 17266557
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/28/2016, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2299 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4968 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
Engine Model/Series: O-320 SERIES
Rated Power: 0 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:
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1245 CST
Direction from Accident Site: 300°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 14 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 270°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.64 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: -12°C / -22°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Hobart Sky Ranch (3HO)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 644 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 18
IFR Approach:None 
Runway Length/Width: 3125 ft / 40 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: 41.551667, -87.263889 (est)

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA082
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 06, 2017 in Hobart, IN
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N80374
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 January 6, 2017, about 1305 central standard time (CST), a Cessna 172, N80374, departed the runway during an attempted landing at Hobart Sky Ranch Airport (3HO), Hobart, Indiana. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left and right wings, and fuselage. The private pilot, and sole occupant onboard, was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to Great Northern Aircraft Inc, and was privately operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and no instrument flight rules flight plan was filed.

Don Niemeyer helped rescue a pilot from a Cessna 172M Skyhawk that skidded off the runway of the Hobart Sky Ranch Airport.

HOBART — Airport manager Don Niemeyer Sr. was sitting in his office Friday afternoon at the Hobart Sky Ranch Airport when he heard what sounded like the screeching of tires on the runway and an airplane nose-diving through a wooded area off U.S. 6.

“It sounded just like when you take your lawnmower through (shrubbery), that grinding noise,” said Niemeyer, the longtime manager of the small, privately owned airport just north of U.S. 6 and Lake Park Avenue. 

Niemeyer Sr. said he immediately called for his son, also named Don Niemeyer, to run to the pilot’s aid.

The airplane — a Cessna 172M Skyhawk, according to the Niemeyers — skidded off the runway at 1:06 p.m., and landed in a wooded area north of U.S. 6, said Hobart Fire Chief Brian Kerr.

A pilot was trapped inside the plane, but made it out with minor injuries, Kerr said.

“It’s always a good ending when you walk away from a plane crash,” Kerr said.

The younger Don Niemeyer said his father pulled him out of the office to tell him to go the crash site.  

The damaged airplane, visible from U.S. 6, appeared to have nosedived into the wooden area north of the roadway. The plane’s front-end was planted into the ground while the body of the plane rested against trees and shrubbery.

The pilot, who Niemeyer said was traveling from the Griffith-Merrillville Airport, is “lucky to be alive.”

“From the condition of the airplane, he’s very lucky. With the size of the trees that he came in contact with, he’s lucky,” Niemeyer said.

Niemeyer said Friday’s rescue was unfortunately not the first time he’s helped out at the scene of plane crash.

“I was basically born and raised here on this airport. I've been around aviation my whole life. So things happen when you’ve been around long enough,” he said.

The pilot’s name and age were not available Friday afternoon.

U.S. 6, or East 37th Avenue, remained shut down as of 2:45 p.m. between Wisconsin Street and Lake Park Avenue because of the accident.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson said Federal Aviation Administration officials will be going to the crash site to investigate.

“When they go to the scene, they often do an assessment of the damage, take photos and provide that to investigators,” Knudson said.

It is undetermined if NTSB will open its own investigation, he said, noting there are many factors to take into consideration — including the seriousness of injuries or plane damage.

A spokesperson with the FAA was unable to be reached for comment Friday.  

Lake Station, New Chicago, Hobart police officers and Hobart fire officials responded to the scene. 


An unnamed pilot was transported to St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart with minor injuries Friday afternoon after skidding off the runway at Hobart Sky Ranch Airport in Hobart and crashing in the wooded area just north of 37th Avenue, police said.

Hobart Fire Chief Brian Kerr said the incident occurred about 1:05 p.m. Don Niemeyer, owner of the Hobart Sky Ranch Airport, 3700 N. Lake Park Ave., could not be reached for comment Friday.

Kerr said the pilot, whose name was not released, was alone in the single-engine aircraft.

He said the pilot had to be extricated from the plane, but appeared to have suffered only minor injuries.

A man in the airport office said the pilot was experienced.

"He had a couple hundred hours in," he said.

Police closed 37th Avenue from South Lake Park Avenue to Wisconsin Street while police and fire crews worked around the crash scene.

Lake Station Police Chief Dave Johnson said there was gasoline leaking from the plane.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration registry, the plane, a Cessna fixed-wing single engine, is owned by Great Northern Aircraft Inc. in Griffith.

A voicemail left at the airplane sales company was not immediately returned.

Johnson said Hobart Fire Department, and Hobart, Lake Station and New Chicago police responded to the accident after receiving a 911 call of a plane crash by the airport.

"In the 20 years I've been working here I don't remember another plane crash at that airport," Kerr said.


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