Sunday, October 07, 2018

Piper J3C-65 Cub, N38811: Fatal accident occurred October 06, 2018 in Fancy Gap, Carroll County, Virginia

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charleston, West Virginia
Continental Motors Inc.; Mobile, Alabama 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Fancy Gap, VA
Accident Number: ERA19FA003
Date & Time: 10/06/2018, EDT
Registration: N38811
Aircraft: Piper J3C
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On October 6, 2018, at an unknown time, a Piper J3C-65, N38811, was substantially damaged after it impacted terrain near Fancy Gap, Virginia. The private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the cross country flight, which originated from Fayette Airport (WV59), Fayetteville, West Virginia, around 1100. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 and had an intended destination of Twin Lakes Airport (8A7), Mocksville, North Carolina.

According to a family member of the pilot, he left for the airport around 0900 on the day of the accident and most likely departed the airport around 1100. It was not until later in the day when the pilot had not contacted the family member or returned from the flight that the family member reported the pilot as overdue and an alert notice (ALNOT) was issued, around 2220. Then, on October 7, 2018, search and rescue crews reached the accident site about 150 feet below the summit, at 2,766 feet elevation. The accident site was about 95 miles into the 131-mile flight, on a 172° ground track, along the route of flight between the departure and destination airports.

According to an individual who worked in the vicinity of the accident, the weather was "very foggy" on the day of the accident.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airmen records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. The pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate on July 26, 2012.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1941, and was registered to the pilot in 2017. In addition, it was equipped with a Continental Motors Inc. C85-12F, 85-horsepower engine that drove a fixed pitch propeller. According to the maintenance logs, the most recent annual inspection was completed on May 10, 2018, and as of that date, the engine had accumulated 76.5 hours since major overhaul.

The 1135 recorded weather observation at Twin County Airport (HLX), Hillsville, Virginia, which was about 9 miles northwest of the accident location, included wind from 220° at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, broken clouds at 1,200 ft above ground level (agl), broken clouds at 1,700 ft agl, overcast clouds at 9,000 ft agl, temperature 23° C, dew point 21° C; and an altimeter setting of 30.28 inches of mercury.

Several trees exhibited impact scars prior to where the airplane came to rest, about 50 ft from the initial tree scar. All major components of the airplane were located in the vicinity of the wreckage. The debris path was oriented on a 320° heading.

The airplane came to rest in a nose down position. The fuselage was impact damaged and the skin was torn. The cabin was impact crushed aft. Sections of the left and right wing were impact separated from the airframe. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage and the skin was torn. The left and right horizontal stabilizers and elevators remained attached to the empennage and were impact damaged. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer through all attach points and the skin was torn. Control cable continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to their respective flight controls through breaks in the cable consistent with overload and tool cuts made by first responders.

The propeller remained attached to the flange and engine. One blade was bent aft about 20° and the other blade exhibited tip curling. Chordwise scratching was noted on both blades and leading-edge paint rub was also noted. Several cut tree branches were noted along the debris path measuring between 2 and 10 inches, and all appeared to be cut at about a 45° angle.

The engine was impact-separated from the fuselage and was only attached to the fuselage via the throttle cable. The cowling was partially impact separated and removed to facilitate further examination. The oil sump was impact damaged. The oil dipstick remained in the oil filler neck. The intake and exhaust systems were partially separated from the engine. All 4 cylinders remained attached and secured to the engine. No holes or damaged was noted to the crankcase. The propeller would rotate smoothly through 45° of motion, and then stop when it contacted the crankcase. The propeller flange was impact bent and rotational scoring was noted on the propeller. Organic matter similar to wood was noted in the No. 3 cylinder fins. The Nos. 1 and 3 rocker box covers were removed, and oil was noted within. When the propeller was rotated through the 45° of motion, movement was noted on the No. 1 rocker arms. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N38811
Model/Series: J3C 65
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHLX, 2693 ft msl
Observation Time: 1535 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 220°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1200 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.28 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Fayetteville, WV (WV59)
Destination: Mocksville, NC (8A7)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 36.638056, -80.707222

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

“I look at my yesterdays for months past, and find them as good a lot of yesterdays as anybody might want. I sit there in the firelight and see them all. The hours that made them were good, and so were the moments that made the hours. I have had responsibilities and work, dangers and pleasure, good friends, and a world without walls to live in.”

-Beryl Markham, West with the Night

Ralph C. Young, Jr. , 65, of Fayetteville, WV died from injuries received in an aircraft accident on Sunday, October 07, 2018 near Fancy Gap, VA.

Born October 28, 1952 in Erie, PA he was the son of the late Ralph C. Young Sr., a WWII Pilot, and Doris Prentice Young, and stepson of Duane Young of Charleston, SC. 

Ralph was a member of the Oak Hill United Methodist Church. He was involved with the Boy Scouts for many years, achieving Eagle Scout status and was a former Scout Leader for Troop 179. He was a VietNam era US Air Force veteran.

A longtime attorney with Hamilton, Burgess, Young and Pollard, he was a member WV Bar Association, WV State Bar and the WV Association of Justice, for which he received an Award.

In addition to being a master carpenter his hobbies were: running, (in years past participated in the Charleston Distance Run, AAU 20K Oak Hill to Fayetteville and Capt. Thurmond Tri-Athlon,) kayaking, restoring antique tractors, wood carving, restoring antique Willys Jeeps, and antique airplanes.

Ralph was a wonderful husband, father and friend. His greatest joy was helping someone in need, no matter the task.

His memory will be forever cherished by his wife, Cathy C. Conner Young; three children, Ralph C. Young, III of Fayetteville, Joel P. (Tiffany) Young of Oak Hill, and Ashton J. Young of Fayetteville; grandchild, Christian P. Young of Oak Hill; step-mother, Duane Young of Charleston, SC; brother, William P. (Debbie) Young of Martinsburg; sisters, Susan Y. Albright of Lancaster, PA, Rebecca Y. (Fred) Flori of Scituate, RI, and Marybeth Y. (Victor) Clark of Charleston, SC; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be on Saturday, October 13, 2018, at 11:00 am at the Oak Hill United Methodist Church with Rev. Ken Krimmel officiating. 

A celebration of a life well lived will be held at Wild Blue Adventure Company, Fayetteville on Friday, October 12, 2018, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. 

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, 3508 Staunton Avenue SE, 3rd Floor, Charleston, WV 25301.

Online condolences may be sent at

Arrangements by Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill, WV

A local lawyer and pilot was tragically killed on Sunday, October 7th when his plane went down near Fancy Gap, which is in Carroll County, VA.

Ralph C. Young was a resident of Fayetteville and a flying enthusiast who also owned part of the Historic Fayette Cou. Air Strip in Fayetteville.

We spoke with Chris Kappler, a close friend and a fellow pilot who owns Wild Blue Adventures. He says Young was flying his vintage 1941 Piper that he flew regularly–adding that he was a great pilot with over 50 years of experience.

Kapplar says Young will be missed because he was a nice man that they felt fortunate enough to call a friend.

“Well Ralph was just such a great guy and it’s always people like him that leave such a great void. Not only was he a personal friend, he was just such a well respected member of our community in Fayetteville and in Fayette county and in Southern West Virginia. As far as the pilots in Southern West Virginia and in the vintage airplane community he’ll just leave a void that will probably never be filled,” says Young.

There are plans to memorialize Young. Kapplar tells us, it would be an event he would have loved.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Ralph Young

FANCY GAP — A West Virginia man died early Sunday when his airplane crashed into a wooded area on Fancy Gap Mountain in Carroll County.

Ralph C. Young, 65, of Fayetteville, West Virginia, was making a round-trip between a private airstrip in his hometown and Elkin, North Carolina, when his fixed-wing, single-engine 1941 Piper crashed.

Virginia State Police were alerted of a possible crash at 2:10 a.m. With the help of Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the crash scene was located around 3 a.m.

According to State Police, Young’s body was located with the wreckage. The medical examiner’s office in Roanoke responded to the crash scene, off Cemetery Road.

FAA and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are assisting state police with an investigation into what caused the crash. Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, the county’s emergency services coordinator and Hillsville and Cana fire departments also assisted.

Fancy Gap Mountain is known for heavy fog that has accounted for many multi vehicle crashes in the past. State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said it is still undetermined whether fog played a role in the airplane crash.

According to the National Weather Service, a special weather statement for isolated areas of dense fog was in effect for that area at the time of the crash. The NWS spokesman said records indicate preparations were underway to issue a dense fog advisory when NWS was notified of the crash.

This is a common time of year for fog due to longer nights and high humidity, the spokesman said.

The Virginia State Police, Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating a fatal plane crash in Carroll County.

At 2:10 a.m. Sunday (October 7), Virginia State Police were alerted to a missing aircraft that was suspected of having crashed in Carroll County. With the assistance of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and the Federal Aviation Administration, the Piper J3C-65 Cub was located off Cemetery Road on Fancy Gap Mountain around 3 a.m., according to the Virginia State Police.

“The pilot, Ralph C. Young, 65, of Fayetteville, West Virginia, did not survive the crash. His remains were located with the wreckage,” the Virginia State Police stated in a press release Sunday. “The Office of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke responded to the scene. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.”

Young was making a round-trip flight from a private airstrip in Fayetteville, West Virginia to Elkin, North Carolina and back to West Virginia, according to state police.

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Services Coordinator have been assisting state police at the scene, along with the Hillsville and Cana Fire Departments. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are on scene and assisting with the investigation.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. VFR into IMC? Can't tell if that's smoke or low clouds.

  2. Looks old enough to know better - scud running is NOT good!

  3. There was fog in the area but it was clear on top.

  4. He flew into a cloud which contained a mountain.