Wednesday, February 21, 2018

North American T-28A Trojan, N9103F, registered to and operated by the Trojan Corporation: Fatal accident occurred July 02, 2017 near Moorhead Municipal Airport (KJKJ), Clay County, Minnesota -and- Incident occurred March 29, 2016 in Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota


Family, faith, farming, and flying were Mark's life. His favorite plane to fly was the TBM Avenger WWII torpedo bomber aircraft. 


Mark Yaggie


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 Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms


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


Location:  Moorhead, MN
Accident Number:  CEN17LA250
Date & Time: 07/02/2017, 1800 CDT
Registration: N9103F
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN T-28A
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

The private pilot took off in the airplane for a cross-country personal flight. Shortly after reaching 1,800 ft mean sea level (msl), the pilot contacted the departure controller and said he was diverting to another nearby airport. He did not provide a reason for the diversion nor did he declare an emergency, and when asked if he needed assistance, he replied "no." Subsequently, the controller told the pilot that a frequency change was approved and that radar services were terminated; however, no further communications were received from the pilot.

Radar data showed the airplane in a controlled descent on a southerly heading toward the diversion airport. The descent distance from 1,800 ft msl to the point of impact was 7.5 miles, for an average descent rate of 120 ft per mile. One witness reported that he saw the airplane fly over him and that it was "obviously in distress" and making a "terrible racket." One witness said the engine was "popping," and another witness reported that the airplane "sounded like it was in trouble." One witness reported seeing the airplane's right wing clip a light pole. The airplane then impacted a cornfield 1/2 mile from the airport.

Examination and disassembly of the engine revealed damage to the propeller case and gear case that was consistent with the engine running at impact, which corroborated the witnesses' reports, and no evidence of malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Oil specimens were within normal ranges. The reason for the abnormal engine sounds reported by the witnesses could not be determined.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: 
Controlled descent into terrain due to engine issues, the reason for which could not be determined because examination of the engine revealed no evidence of malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. 

Findings

Aircraft
Altitude - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Not determined
Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-low-alt flying
Course deviation

Approach-VFR pattern final
Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Uncontrolled descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) 

On July 02, 2015, about 1800 central daylight time, a North American T-28A airplane, N9103F, registered to and operated by the Trojan Corporation, Grand Forks, North Dakota, clipped a light pole and impacted terrain while on landing approach to Moorhead Municipal Airport (JKJ), Moorhead, Minnesota. The private pilot, the sole occupant on board, was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight was being operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight, and no flight plan had been filed. Day visual meteorological conditions existed at the accident site at the time of the accident. The flight originated from Hector International Airport (FAR), Fargo, North Dakota, at 1750, and was originally en route to Lyons Field (47Y), Pelican Rapids, Minnesota.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector's statement, the airplane took off from runway 31 at FAR and climbed to 1,800 feet mean sea level (msl), about 900 feet above ground level (agl), at 160 knots. Shortly after reaching 1,800 feet, the pilot radioed FAR departure control and told them he was landing at JKJ. The controller asked the pilot if he needed any assistance and the pilot replied, "I don't think so." The pilot was given clearance to land at JKJ and when asked again if he needed any assistance, he replied "No." The controller told the pilot that a frequency change was approved and squawk VFR (transponder code 1200) . There was no reply from the pilot. The controller advised the pilot that radar services were terminated. Again, there was no acknowledgement from the pilot. No further communications were made with the pilot. Radar showed the airplane in a controlled decent on a southerly heading towards JKJ. The decent distance from 1,800 feet msl to the point of impact was approximately 7.5 statute miles (an average descent rate of 120 feet per mile). Field elevation at JKJ was 918 feet.

One witness, located 2 miles north of the accident site, saw the airplane fly over in a southerly direction at an estimated altitude of 150 to 200 feet agl with the landing gear extended. It was "obviously in distress." He said there was a "terrible racket" and sounded like "a gearbox or engine that was failing or out of oil." This witness submitted a written statement to FAA, which is included in this report's docket.,

FAA telephonically interviewed two other witnesses who were in public park 2 miles north of the accident site. The first witness said they airplane flew over at an altitude of about 100 feet agl and that he could clearly see the pilot. He said the engine was missing and popping. The landing gear was down, but he did not notice the flap position. He watched the airplane all the way to impact. The second witness said the airplane was flying "very low" and "sounded like it was in trouble." He also watched the airplane impact the ground.

Clay County Sheriff's deputies interviewed 8 other witnesses, who corroborated what the other witnesses had reported. One noted that the airplane appeared to be flying slow and its wings were "rocking" before it clipped the light pole with its right wing. The light was destroyed but the pole was undamaged.

These witnesses and other passerby went the accident site to assist the pilot, who was conscious, coherent, and talking. A shirt was placed against a large laceration on the pilot's forehead. Shortly thereafter, the pilot succumbed to his injuries. He had to be extricated by emergency personnel.

The accident location was in a corn field, 600 feet south of the Moorhead DOT (Department of Transportation) weigh station, about 2 miles east of Moorhead, Minnesota, along I-94, and ½-mile from the approach end of JKJ's runway 12. According to the FAA inspector, there were two open fields and 4 roads between the public park and accident site. The pilot made no attempt to make an emergency landing in either field. 



Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 41, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 Unknown
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/17/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  792 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. According to FAA documents, when he applied for medical certification in March 2017, he estimated his total flight time to be 791 hours. His flight time in the T-28A could not be determined. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: NORTH AMERICAN
Registration: N9103F
Model/Series: T-28A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1951
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 51-7606
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 8501 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: WRIGHT
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: R-1820 SER
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 1475 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

N9103F, serial number 51-7606, was manufactured by the North American Aircraft Corporation in 1951, and certificated in the experimental category. It was powered by a Wright R-1820 engine, rated at 1,475 horsepower. 



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: Kkjk, 918 ft msl
Observation Time: 1814 CDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear / 4800 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 11°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots, 30°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.07 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Fargo, ND (KFAR)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Pelican Rapids, MN (47Y)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1750 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

According to the weather observation recorded at KKJK at 1814, the wind was from 030° at 6 knots, visibility was 10 miles, and the sky was clear. The temperature was 23°C., the dew point was 1°C., and the altimeter setting was 30.07 inches of mercury.

The weather observation recorded at KFAR at about the same time was wind 020° at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, and there were a few clouds at 4,800 feet. The temperature was 24°C., the dew point was 12°C., and the altimeter setting was 30.07 inches of mercury. 

Airport Information

Airport: Moorhead Municipal (JKJ)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 918 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 12
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4300 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Straight-in 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 46.000000, -96.000000 

According to the FAA inspector's report, the right main landing gear struck the ground first, followed by the nose of the airplane. The impact caused the propeller and gear case to separate from the engine, and were located 20 feet from the impact crater. The fuselage rotated clockwise 180° and came to rest facing north. The engine separated from the fuselage and was found 60 feet to the south. The right wing separated from the fuselage and was lying inverted slightly behind the aircraft. The right-wing flap was torn off and the outboard end was pointed away from fuselage. The landing gear was extended and the strut was broken off at the axle attachment. The FAA inspector noted paint transfer marks from the light to the right wing of the accident airplane.

The tail section was mostly intact and the right elevator had only tip damage. The horizontal stabilizer was deflected upward at the root. The intact left horizontal stabilizer had impact damage from debris. Flight control continuity could not be conclusively determined due to the extent of aircraft damage. The FAA inspector said the pilot was wearing a lap belt and shoulder harness, but the shoulder harness had failed. The radio was found set to the FAR departure frequency.

First responders placed absorbent pads under the wings to capture leaking fuel. The fuel tanks were drained. The right wing contained 25 gallons and the left wing contained 7 gallons (a total of 12 gallons useable). This fuel total does not include fuel that was in the ruptured header tank or fuel leakage after impact. Hydraulic fluid from severed lines was also leaking on the ground. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy on the pilot. Death was attributed to "multiple traumatic injuries."

FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicology tests on samples from the pilot. According to the toxicology report, no carbon monoxide was detected in cavity blood, and no ethanol was detected in vitreous. Diphenhydramine was detected in urine and cavity blood. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine used in the treatment of sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and motion sickness.

Tests And Research

On July 5, using the operator's mechanics, the engine was disassembled and examined under FAA auspices at Tri-State Aviation, Wahpeton, North Dakota. According to the FAA inspector's statement, the engine -- a Curtis Wright R1820-86B, SN: W507436 -- was running as reported by witnesses. Damage to the propeller and gear case was consistent with the engine developing power. The engine had no visible signs of failure. The oil filter was free from contamination, and no metal or carbon deposits were visible. Oil specimens were sent to Aviation Laboratories for analysis. According to its report, the specimens were within normal ranges.

The FAA inspector removed the airspeed indicator, manifold pressure gauge, and tachometer. Examination of these instruments revealed no transfer marks to indicate the power setting at the time of impact. After consulting with other T-28 pilots, the inspector learned that the engine would have to be developing power for the airplane to remain airborne in the landing configuration. The inspector calculated the airplane flew 1.6 miles in landing configuration before it impacted terrain.

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA250
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 02, 2017 in Moorhead, MN
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN T-28A, registration: N9103F
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 02, 2015, about 1810 central daylight time, a North American T-28A airplane, N9103F, registered to and operated by Trojan Corporation, Grand Forks, North Dakota, struck a light pole and impacted terrain while on landing approach to Moorhead Municipal Airport (JKJ), Moorhead, Minnesota. The private pilot, the sole occupant on board, was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight was being operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight, and no flight plan had been filed. Day visual meteorological conditions existed near the accident site about the time of the accident. The flight originated from Hector International Airport (FAR), Fargo, North Dakota, at 1800, and was originally en route to Lyons Field (47Y), Pelican Rapids, Minnesota.

Shortly after departing FAR, the pilot told the tower controller that he wanted to divert to JKJ. No reason was given. Witnesses saw the airplane flying at low altitude and heard the engine running prior to striking a light pole at a truck waystation, located about 2 miles south of runway 12. The right wing was severed at the root. There was no fire.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fargo, North Dakota 

Aircraft on landing, struck the propeller.
  
Date:  29-MAR-16
Time:  16:45:00Z
Regis#:  N9103F
Aircraft Make:  NORTH AMERICAN
Aircraft Model:  T28
Event Type:  Incident
Highest Injury:  None
Damage:  Minor
Flight Phase:  LANDING (LDG)
City:  FARGO
State:  North Dakota

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