Sunday, September 30, 2018

Howard DGA-15P, N9471H: Accident occurred September 30, 2018 at Kern Valley Airport (L05), Kern County, California

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fresno, California

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

https://registry.faa.gov/N9471H

Location: Kernville, CA
Accident Number: WPR18LA278
Date & Time: 09/30/2018, 0844 PDT
Registration: N9471H
Aircraft: Howard DGA 15P
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 30, 2018, about 0844 Pacific daylight time, a Howard Aircraft DGA-15P, N9471H, was substantially damaged during a forced landing at Kern Valley Airport (L05), Kernville, California. The airline transport pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the local flight, which was originating at the time of the accident. The personal flight was destined for Bakersfield, California.

According to the pilot, he was returning home after attending a fly-in event at L05. After waiting for the engine oil to warm up to 60°C, he taxied the airplane to the airport run-up area and ran the engine up. During this time, he checked the rpm drop between magnetos, verified that the carburetor heat functioned normally, and cycled the propeller. After completing the run-up checklist, the pilot selected the center fuel tank, which was about 3/8 full. The forward tank was about half full. He then waited about 10 minutes for the traffic pattern to clear and then entered the active runway where he began his takeoff roll. The airplane lifted off the ground about 70 mph and accelerated to about 85 mph in a 10° nose high attitude. The pilot recalled that the airplane reached about 50 ft above ground level before he encountered a total loss of engine power and started to descend rapidly. The airplane impacted the runway, both main landing gear separated and the airplane slid about 300 ft before it came to rest. The airplane was destroyed by postcrash fire. A video of the accident flight furnished by a witness corroborated the pilot's statement.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Howard
Registration: N9471H
Model/Series: DGA 15P No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: , 2284 ft msl
Observation Time: 0856 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 37 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 70°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.91 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Kernville, CA (L05)
Destination: Kernville, CA (L05) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:






FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Kern Valley Airport was shut down for several hours on Sunday after a plane crashed and burst into flames.

Two people were inside of the plane when it went down at around 8:30 a.m. in Kern County.

Photos from our sister station in Bakersfield captured the aftermath of the crash.

Fire crews say both occupants got out of the plane without injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration is working to figure out what caused the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://abc30.com

Cirrus SR22, N818GM: Accident occurred September 30, 2018 near Addison Airport (KADS), Dallas County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Irving, Texas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama
Cirrus Aircraft; Duluth, Minnesota

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

https://registry.faa.gov/N818GM

Location: Addison, TX
Accident Number: CEN18LA392
Date & Time: 09/30/2018, 1121 CDT
Registration: N818GM
Aircraft: Cirrus SR22
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On September 30, 2018, about 1121 central daylight time, a Cirrus SR22 airplane, N818GM, impacted terrain following a loss of engine power near Addison Airport (ADS), Dallas, Texas. The pilot and flight instructor were not injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which departed ADS about 1115 and was destined for Waco Regional Airport (ACT), Waco, Texas.

While on departure climb about 2,800 ft above mean sea level, the pilot and flight instructor noticed multiple avionics malfunctions and turned back toward ADS. During this turn, the engine lost total power and indications of a fire were noticed. After the flight instructor and pilot recognized the airplane was not within gliding distance of ADS or a suitable forced landing area, the pilot initiated the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). The airplane descended under parachute into a parking lot and the main spar was damaged. On-site examination revealed the right side of the engine cowling was burned through near the exhaust system. The airplane was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cirrus
Registration: N818GM
Model/Series: SR22
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
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: KDAL, 488 ft msl
Observation Time: 1139 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 160°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 3500 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Dallas, TX (ADS)
Destination: Waco, TX (ACT)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: In-Flight
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  32.896944, -96.834167 (est)






The pilot of a single-engine plane made an emergency landing shortly after taking off from Addison Airport Sunday morning.

There were no injuries reported.

Shortly after taking off from Addison at around 11:15 a.m., the pilot of the Cirrus SR22 reported engine and instrument troubles, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. 

The pilot attempted to return to the airport but instead declared an emergency. The pilot told air traffic control the plane would not be able to make it back to Addison.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot deployed the Cirrus’ emergency parachute with the plane coming to rest near Alpha Road, about a mile and a half south of the airport.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.wfaa.com

Zenair CH 701 SP, N701XL: Fatal accident occurred July 27, 2017 in Laddonia, Ralls County, Missouri

Analysis

Although he had no night or instrument flight experience, the sport pilot departed in a non-instrument-certificated light sport airplane at night with an overcast ceiling and thunderstorms in the area. Radar data showed that the airplane proceeded on course for about 9 minutes and then entered a right descending turn that continued to ground impact, which was consistent with the pilot attempting to return to the departure airport and not paying attention to his altitude. Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane struck open level farm land in a right wing-low, nose-low attitude. Examination of the engine and airframe did not reveal any evidence of preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. It is likely that the pilot continued visual flight into an area of instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in the pilot experiencing a loss of visual reference and subsequent spatial disorientation.

The pilot had a history of chronic insomnia treated with temazepam, a sedating benzodiazepine, and was regularly prescribed hydrocodone, an opioid analgesic. Toxicology testing detected these drugs and their metabolites in the pilot's system. The pilot was likely impaired by effects from his use of temazepam, and the impairing effects of temazepam were likely enhanced by the pilot's use of hydrocodone. It is likely that the pilot's decision-making was degraded due to his combined use of temazepam and hydrocodone. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's decision to take off at night and continue visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions. which resulted in the pilot becoming spatially disoriented and losing control of the airplane. Contributing to the accident were the pilot's degraded decision-making due to his use of a combination of impairing prescription drugs, and the pilot's lack of instrument and night flight experience. 

Findings

Aircraft
Performance/control parameters - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Cause)
Spatial disorientation - Pilot (Cause)
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)
Prescription medication - Pilot (Factor)
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Factor)
Qualification/certification - Pilot (Factor)
Total instrument experience - Pilot (Factor)

Environmental issues
Below VFR minima - Contributed to outcome (Cause)
Personal pressure - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute
VFR encounter with IMC (Defining event)

Maneuvering-low-alt flying
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Shannon and Bobby Faulkner
~

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


Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Saint Louis, Missouri

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N701XL



Location: Laddonia, MO
Accident Number: CEN17FA288
Date & Time: 07/27/2017, 0452 CDT
Registration: N701XL
Aircraft: ZENITH CH701SP
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: VFR encounter with IMC
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 27, 2017, at 0452 central daylight time, a Zenith CH 701SP, N701XP, was destroyed when it impacted a bean field about 6.5 miles north of Laddonia, Missouri. The sport pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal cross-country flight. The flight originated from Mexico Municipal Airport (MYJ), Mexico, Missouri, about 0440, and was en route to Whittman Regional Airport (OSH), Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

According to the airport manager at MYJ, the airplane with the pilot and his passenger on board arrived late in the day on July 26, 2017. The pilot said he wanted to get an early morning start because he wanted to arrive at OSH when the control tower opened at 0700. A self-service fuel receipt charged to the pilot's credit card indicated that he purchased 17.8 gallons of fuel at 2038 on July 26. The manager said he believed the pilot and his passenger camped that evening next to the airplane. When the manager arrived at the airport the next morning, the airplane was gone.

According to radar data provided by the U.S. Air Force/Civil Air Patrol, the airplane first appeared on radar at 0443:46 when it was about 5 miles east of MYJ. According to the data, the airplane's altitude varied between 2,000 and 2,800 feet above ground level (agl) as it maintained a northeast heading. The airplane then entered a right descending turn and had completed about 180° when radar contact was lost. The last radar return was at 0452:46, when the airplane was about 6.5 miles northeast of Laddonia, Missouri. 

A family member later reported that the airplane was missing and an Alert Notice (ALNOT) was issued on the evening of July 27. Search teams located the wreckage early on the morning of July 28. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Sport Pilot
Age: 41, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Powered-Lift
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/03/2016
Flight Time:  272 hours (Total, all aircraft), 98 hours (Total, this make and model), 31 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a sport pilot certificate with a single-engine land rating. He was not instrument rated. A copy of the pilot's logbook contained entries from December 28, 2014, to July 19, 2017. The pilot's logbook entries were inconsistent: some of the entries were entered in tenths of an hour, and other entries were in minutes. 

The logbook revealed that the pilot had accrued the following flight experience:

Pegasus powered parachute, 162.9 hours
Cessna 150, 5.1 hours
Piper PA-28, 5.0 hours
Aeroprakt A22LS, 0.8 hours
Zenith CH 701SP, 98.3 hours

No night or instrument flight time had been logged. According to 14 CFR 61.315(c)(5), sport pilots are prohibited from flying at night. 



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ZENITH
Registration: N701XL
Model/Series: CH701SP
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2003
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental Light Sport
Serial Number: 7-4618
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/01/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1100 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:  1142 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 912ULS
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The experimental light sport airplane was constructed by a private individual in 2003, and later purchased by the pilot. It was powered by a 100-horsepower Rotax 912ULS engine, driving a 3-bladed Warp-Drive 70-inch fixed pitch composite propeller.

A copy of the maintenance records contained entries from December 11, 2013, to May 1, 2017. A condition inspection was performed on the airframe and engine on May 1, 2017, with 1,142 flight hours recorded in the logbook.

The airplane was not equipped nor certified for instrument flight rules (IFR) flight. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMYJ
Distance from Accident Site: 17 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0415 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 200°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility: 1.5 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1100 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 230°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 22°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Mexico, MO (KMYJ)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Oshkosh, WI (KOSH)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0400 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

There was no record that the pilot had obtained a preflight weather briefing.

At 0414, MYJ reported a visibility of 1-1/2 miles in heavy rain, broken clouds at 1,100 feet, and overcast at 1,900 feet.

At 0435, MYJ reported winds from 240° at 7 knots, visibility 7 miles in light rain, broken clouds at 600 feet and 1,200 feet, and overcast at 1,900 feet. The temperature-dew point spread was 1° (23/22). There was distant lightning in the north through east quadrants, and in the west quadrant.

At 0455, MYJ reported winds from 230° at 7 knots, visibility 7 miles, with a thunderstorm and rain in the vicinity. There were scattered clouds at 600 feet, broken clouds at 3,300 feet, and overcast skies at 4,800 feet. The temperature-dew point spread was 1°, and there was distant lightning in the north through east quadrants and in the west quadrant. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  39.334444, -91.685833

The accident site was located 6.5miles northeast of MYJ in open level farm land. Green position light lens fragments were found at the beginning of a ground scar that was 36 feet long and aligned on a magnetic course of 121°. At the end of the ground scar was a water-filled impact crater, followed by a debris path that extended 252 feet on a magnetic course of 130°, which was about the direction to MYJ. The crushed right wing and lesser damaged left wing were located farther down the debris path, preceded by a flap and aileron. The fuselage, cockpit, and empennage were located 84 feet from the impact crater and to the left of the debris path. The engine was located 210 feet from the impact crater.

Medical And Pathological Information

The Boone/Callaway County Medical Examiner's Office, Columbus, Missouri, performed an autopsy on the pilot. According to the autopsy report, death was attributed to "blunt force injuries." The toxicology screen on the pilot performed by St. Louis University's Toxicology Laboratory Berkeley, Missouri, revealed the presence of 0.040 gm% (40 mg/dl) ethanol, 0.11 micrograms/ml temazepam, 33 micrograms/ml acetaminophen, and 0.91 micrograms/ml sertraline.

FAA's Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology screening that revealed the presence of 10 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ethanol in urine, and 36 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ethanol in blood. Propanol, a metabolite of ethanol, was detected in blood and urine. The presence of propanol is consistent with postmortem alcohol production. The report noted that putrefaction had occurred, and the blood was unsuitable for carbon monoxide analysis. Also detected were 114.72 (ug/ml, ug/g) acetaminophen in urine; 0.007 (ug/mL, ug/g) dihydrocodeine in blood and 0.067 (ug/mL, ug/g) in urine; 0.144 (ug/ml, ug/g) hydrocodone in urine but not in blood; 0.054 (ug/mL, ug/g) hydromorphone in urine; 0.36 (ug/ml, ug/g) oxazepam in urine but not in blood; an unknown quantity of sertraline in urine and 1.23 (ug/mL, ug/g) in blood, and an unknown quantity of salicylate in urine.

According to the pilot's medical records, the pilot had a history of chronic insomnia that was being treated with temazepam. (Oxazepam is a psychoactive metabolite of temazepam. Temazepam (Restoril) is "a sedating benzodiazepine available by prescription and intended for short-term treatment of insomnia." The drug carries several warnings, including "concomitant use of benzodiazepines, including temazepam and opioids, may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death." There is also a warning that the drug can cause "behavior changes, such as increased aggressivity, and patients using it may engage in complex behaviors while under its influence, such as 'sleep driving'" that they may later not recall.

The pilot was also being treated for anxiety with sertraline, and had been regularly prescribed hydrocordone. Sertraline (Zoloft) is a prescription antidepressant that is not considered impairing.

Hydrocodone, an opioid analgesic, is considered impairing and carries warnings about risks of central nervous system and respiratory depression, particularly when combined with benzodiazepines. In addition, the drug information warns that it "may impair the mental or physical abilities needed to perform potentially hazardous activities such as driving a car or operating machinery."


Shannon Faulkner

Bobby Faulkner during 2016 Adventure Arkansas



NTSB Identification: CEN17FA288
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 27, 2017 in Laddonia, MO
Aircraft: ZENITH CH701SP, registration: N701XL
Injuries: 2 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 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 July 27, 2017, about 0415 central daylight time, a Zenith CH 701SP, N701XP, piloted by a non-instrument rated sport pilot, was destroyed when the it impacted terrain approximately 6.5 miles north of Laddonia, and 16.5 miles northeast of Mexico, Missouri. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and passenger on board the airplane were fatally injured. The cross-country flight originated from Mexico Municipal Airport (KMYJ), Mexico, Missouri, about 0400, and was en route to Oshkosh (OSH), Wisconsin.

According to the airport manager, the airplane arrived late in the day on July 26. The pilot said he wanted to get an early start the next morning because he wanted to arrive at OSH when the control tower opened at 0700. The manager said he believed the pilot and his wife camped that evening next to the airplane. When the manager arrived at the airport the next morning, the airplane was gone. The airplane was later reported missing and an ALNOT (Alert Notice) was issued that evening. The wreckage was located early the next morning.

The on-scene investigation revealed the airplane struck the ground in a right wing low, nose down attitude as evidenced by green position light fragments at the beginning of the ground scar, followed by the impact crater. A crushed right wing and relatively intact left wing were located further down the debris path, followed by the fuselage and engine. The debris path was aligned on a heading back towards Mexico. There is no record that the pilot obtained a weather briefing or filed a flight plan.

Angel Hawk II, N335JT: Accident occurred June 09, 2017 near Homer Municipal Airport (5F4), Claiborne Parish, Louisiana

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


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


http://registry.faa.gov/N335JT


Location: Homer, LA
Accident Number: CEN17LA228
Date & Time: 06/09/2017, 0830 CDT
Registration: N335JT
Aircraft: Thompson Angel Hawk II
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 9, 2017, about 0830 central daylight time, an amateur built Angel Hawk II airplane, N335JT, collided with terrain during a forced landing near the Homer Municipal Airport (5F4), Homer, Louisiana. The pilot/airplane builder was seriously injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to a private individual and was being operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual flight rules conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident, and a flight plan had not been filed for the local flight. The airplane departed 5F4 just before the accident.

The pilot reported that he had been having trouble with increased cylinder head temps on the engine, a VW Type 1. During one flight, the engine popped and quit when he was on downwind and he landed the airplane back on the runway. He couldn't get the engine to restart. He replaced some ignition system components and adjusted the valves which were too tight. He was then able to start the engine and it ran fine during run-up tests.

The plan for the accident flight was takeoff and circle above the runway to make sure the engine was running ok. Just after takeoff, the engine began sputtering. He made a left 180° turn to return to the runway and during the turn, the engine lost all power. He stated that the airplane stalled when he was in the turn and he did not have enough time to recover before contacting the ground.

The engine was originally a Volkswagen 1.6L Type 1, which had been converted by the pilot to a variation of the Volkswagen 1.9L Type 4. The fuel mixture adjustment was pre-set at the carburetor and not adjustable in the cockpit. The ignition system included a single battery, ignition coil, centrifugal advance distributor, points, condenser and one spark plug per cylinder. The lubrication system had an added external sump attached beneath the oil drain with steel braided hose connecting to a "spin-on" type oil filter mounted on the firewall. The engine had about 47 hours of operating time since new.

A postaccident examination of the engine was conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness inspector. The examination revealed there was melted plastic material inside the distributor rotor and the distributor drive shaft. The inspector reported that the condition of the spark plugs was indicative of a lean fuel mixture/high temperature operation. The engine timing could not be determined. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 69, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/02/2016
Flight Time:  946 hours (Total, all aircraft), 47 hours (Total, this make and model), 800 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Thompson
Registration: N335JT
Model/Series: Angel Hawk II
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 001
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/01/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 47 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Thompson
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: VW Tape I
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 70 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: MNE, 278 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1335 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 240°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.98 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 16°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Homer, LA (5F4)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Homer, LA (5F4)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0827 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Homer Municipal Airport (5F4)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 244 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

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:  32.789722, -93.006389 (est)

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA228
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 09, 2017 in Homer, LA
Aircraft: Thompson Angel Hawk II, registration: N335JT
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 June 9, 2017, about 0830 central daylight time, an amateur built Angel Hawk II airplane, N335JT, collided with terrain during a forced landing near the Homer Municipal Airport (5F4), Homer, Louisiana. The pilot was seriously injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to a private individual and was being operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual flight rules conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident, and a flight plan had not been filed. The airplane departed 5F4 just before the accident. The intended destination is unknown.

Bede BD-5B, N604KA: Accident occurred May 26, 2017 near Portland Municipal Airport (KPLD), Jay 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; Indianapolis, Indiana

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N604KA

Location: Portland, IN
Accident Number: CEN17LA205
Date & Time: 05/26/2017, 1720 EDT
Registration: N604KA
Aircraft: AMSTUTZ CURTIS J BD-5B
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Flight Test 

On May 26, 2017, at 1720 eastern daylight time, an Amstutz BD-5B amateur built airplane, N604KA, was involved in an off airport forced landing, following a loss of engine power in Portland, Indiana. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by an individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an engineering test flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Portland Municipal Airport (PLD), Portland, Indiana, at 1650.

The pilot reported the airplane had 5.8 flight hours since he completed building it and the purpose of the flight was to obtain rate of climb data. Following the 6th climb, while at an altitude of 3,500 ft above mean seal level, the engine began to run rough. The pilot entered a left downwind at PLD and descended for a landing approach. The pilot reported he switched fuel tanks and performed a magneto check, neither of which corrected the engine roughness. The pilot noticed the cylinder head temperature and the exhaust gas temperature for the No. 1 cylinder decreased, indicating the No. 1 cylinder was not firing. As he turned onto base leg, the engine lost all power. The pilot realized he was not going to be able to make it to the runway, so he selected a field in which to land. The field contained 3 ft tall vegetation and was soft from recent rain. About 170 ft into the landing roll, the landing gear collapsed, and the airplane ground looped which resulted in damage to the flaps, ailerons, and horizontal stabilator.

The airplane was equipped with a 2-cycle, 2-cylinder Hirth 3203E engine. A postaccident inspection of the engine by the pilot revealed there were separated wires in the connectors between the engine control unit (ECU) and the fuel injectors for both the No. 1 and No. 2 cylinders. The wires for the No. 1 cylinder connector appeared to be crimped properly with the insulation reaching the crimped connector. The pilot tugged on the wire and about 1/2 inch of the copper wire came out of the insulation. The pilot removed the connector for the No. 2 cylinder and found a broken wire at the splice connector that he had installed the month prior to the accident.

The pilot stated that the engine was about 15 years old, even though the engine had 15 hours of total operating time. It is unknown when the No. 1 cylinder connector was installed on the engine. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 48, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Center
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/21/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:   212 hours (Total, all aircraft), 6 hours (Total, this make and model), 183 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AMSTUTZ CURTIS J
Registration: N604KA
Model/Series: BD-5B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 1
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/26/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 800 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5.8 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: Hirth
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 3203E
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 65 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: PLD, 925 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1630 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 240°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 7000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 200°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.84 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 15°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Portland, IN (PLD)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Portland, IN (PLD)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1650 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class E 

Airport Information

Airport: Portland Municipal (PLD)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 925 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Wet
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 40.451944, -84.979722 (est)

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA205
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 26, 2017 in Portland, IN
Aircraft: AMSTUTZ CURTIS J BD-5B, registration: N604KA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 May 26, 2017, at 1720 eastern daylight time, an Amstutz BD-5B amateur built airplane, N604KA, was involved in an off airport forced landing, following a loss of engine power in Portland, Indiana. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by an individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an engineering test flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Portland Municipal Airport (PLD), Portland, Indiana, at 1650.

The pilot reported the airplane had about 6 flight hours since he completed building it and the purpose of the flight was to obtain rate of climb data. Following the 6th climb, while at an altitude of 3,500 ft above mean seal level, the engine began to run rough. The pilot entered a left downwind and descended for a landing approach. The pilot reported he switched fuel tanks and performed a magneto check, neither of which corrected the engine roughness. As he turned onto base leg, the engine lost all power. The pilot realized he was not going to be able to make it to the runway, so he selected a field in which to land. The field was soft from recent rain and it contained 3 ft tall vegetation. About 170 feet into the landing roll, the landing gear collapsed and the airplane ground looped before coming to rest.

Piper J3C-65 Cub, registered to a family partnership and operated by the pilot, N35132: Fatal accident occurred May 24, 2017 in Chetek, Barron County, Wisconsin

Owen Knutson, Pilot
February 15, 2000 ~ May 24, 2017 (age 17)

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled 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: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms 
 
http://registry.faa.gov/N35132


Location: Chetek, WI
Accident Number: CEN17FA196
Date & Time: 05/24/2017, 1830 CDT
Registration: N35132
Aircraft: PIPER J3C
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 24, 2017, about 1830 central daylight time, a Piper J3C 65 airplane, N35132, crashed into a river 3.5 mile southwest of Chetek, Wisconsin. The private pilot was fatally injured, and the passenger was seriously injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to a family partnership and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The local personal flight departed a private airstrip near Chetek about 1800.

According to the passenger, he met the pilot at the private airstrip about 1750. When he arrived, the pilot was pulling the airplane out of the hangar for the flight. The passenger sat in the front seat and the pilot helped him to secure his lap belt. The pilot then sat in the rear seat.

The passenger reported that after taking off, they "looped around the house" and then headed towards a pond where several friends were fishing. They flew over the pond and waved at their friends. The pilot stated that they would "go around" and fly over their friends again. The airplane started to turn and then went straight down. The passenger did not recall hearing anything abnormal with the engine. Just before the impact with the river the pilot stated, "This isn't good."

According to two witnesses who were fishing on a pond near the river, the airplane flew overhead to the north. One witness reported that the door of the airplane was open and that the two occupants were waving at them. This witness stated that the "engine rpms sounded low but smooth" as the airplane flew over him. The airplane continued to the north and then started a turn to the right. Both witnesses stated that they heard a "pop" noise from the engine which they characterized as a backfire. After the "pop," the airplane descended out of sight below the tree line, and the witnesses heard the crash.

Two other witnesses, located to the west of the accident location, observed the airplane flying to the north over the river, about 60 to 80 ft above the tree tops. The airplane flew over a boat on the pond and then started to climb while flying to the east. The airplane then "went straight down," and the witnesses heard the impact. When asked, neither witness reported hearing any abnormal noises from the engine before the accident. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 17, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: None
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/27/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/15/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 175 hours (Total, all aircraft), 17.1 hours (Total, this make and model), 24.7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3.6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

The pilot's most recent FAA third-class airman medical certificate was issued on December 27, 2015, without limitations. At that time, the pilot reported no chronic medical conditions and no medication usage.

The last page of the pilot's logbook contained 14 logged flights between March 25, 2017, and May 7, 2017. Six flights, including the last 3 flights, were logged in a Cessna 172. The remaining 8 flights were in the accident airplane. The pilot's total logged flight time was 177.8 hours; of which 17.1 hours were logged in the same make and model as the accident airplane. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N35132
Model/Series: J3C 65
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1941
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 6144
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/15/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 205.22 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: C85-12F
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 85 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The airplane, a Piper J3C-65 (serial number 6144), was manufactured in 1941. It was registered with the FAA and held a standard airworthiness certificate for normal operations. The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses when it was manufactured. A Continental C85-12F engine, rated at 85 horsepower at 2,575 rpm, powered the airplane. The engine was equipped with a McCauley 2-blade propeller.

The airplane was equipped with two tandem seats and dual flight controls. The instrument panel was just forward of the front seat. When the pilot was the sole occupant, the pilot would fly from the rear seat. With a passenger, it was typical for the pilot to fly from the rear seat.

The airplane was maintained under an annual inspection program. A review of the maintenance records indicated that an annual inspection had been completed on May 15, 2016, at an unknown airframe total time and a tachometer time of 205.22. The airplane had flown approximately 40.54 hours between the last inspection and the accident.

Restraint Systems

The airplane was equipped with four-point restraint systems for both the front and rear seat positions. The front and rear seat shoulder harnesses had a data tag that read "Hooker Custom Harness, Inc." The model number was 2Y482430-3D and the date of manufacture was August 4, 2015. The front and rear seat lap belts had a data tag that read "Hooker Custom Harness, Inc". The model number was 2062340 and the date of manufacture was August 4, 2015.

In a telephone interview with the pilot's father, who was a member of the family partnership that owned the airplane, he stated that he had replaced the shoulder harnesses in the airplane in June 2016. There was no logbook entry for this replacement nor was a specific supplemental type certificate (STC) referenced. According to a representative with Hooker Custom Harnesses, Inc, they do not sell an STC specific to the Piper J3 airplane.

There were no logbook entries identifying when the shoulder harnesses were first installed in the airplane or who performed the work. In addition, a review of the FAA airworthiness records did not contain any paperwork showing that this major alteration was done. In a follow-up email, the pilot's father stated that the airplane was rebuilt in 2013. He vaguely recalled being asked by the mechanic who rebuilt the airplane to order F Atlee Dodge fittings for the shoulder harness. A review of the F Atlee Dodge website revealed that they do not sell an STC for shoulder harnesses specific to the Piper J3 airplane.

In September 2000 the FAA issued Policy Statement ACE-00-23.561-01 "Issuance of Policy Statement, Methods of Approval of Retrofit Shoulder Harness Installations in Small Airplane." This document presented the guidelines for approval of retrofit shoulder harness installations. According to the document, a retrofitted shoulder harness installation in a small airplane may receive approval by STC, field approval, or as a minor change. An STC was identified as the "most desirable and most rigorous" approval method. A field approval would be "appropriate for alterations that involve little or no engineering." Approval as a minor change that would have no "appreciable effect" on the structural strength or airworthiness of the airplane. All three methods required a logbook entry and, for the STCs and field approvals, the completion of an FAA for 337 "Major Repair and Alteration". 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KY23, 1056 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 35 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1835 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 45°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4100 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 50°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.7 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C / 9°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Chetek, WI
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Chetek, WI
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1800 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

According to a sun position calculator, the sun was at an azimuth of 280° and an inclination of 21° above the horizon at the time of the accident.



Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  45.279444, -91.709167 

The accident site was located in the Red Cedar River at an elevation of about 1,040 ft mean sea level (msl). The airplane impacted on a magnetic heading of about 200°. The main wreckage included the fuselage, the left wing, the right wing, the empennage, and the engine and propeller assembly.

The right wing remained partially attached to the airframe at the forward attach point. The aft spar separated at the root with signatures consistent with impact and overload. The right aileron remained attached and was unremarkable. The leading edge of the right wing exhibited accordion crushing along the entire span and the fabric was torn. The control cable and the balance cable from the aileron inboard to the cockpit flight yoke were continuous.

The left wing remained partially attached to the airframe at the forward attach point. The aft spar separated at the root with signatures consistent with impact and overload. The left aileron remained attached and was unremarkable. The leading edge of the left wing was crushed and wrinkled along the entire span and the fabric was torn. The control cable and the balance cable from the aileron inboard to the cockpit flight yoke were continuous.

The empennage included the horizontal and vertical stabilizer, elevator, rudder, and tail wheel. The forward lower portion of the vertical stabilizer, at the fuselage, was wrinkled. The horizontal stabilizer, elevators, tail wheel, and rudder were unremarkable. The control cables for the rudder were continuous from the flight controls in the cockpit, aft to the rudder. The push tube for the elevator was continuous from the elevator control forward to the aft yoke and continuous from the aft yoke forward to the forward yoke. The separation point between the push tube and the aft yoke was consistent with impact and overload.

The crush angle on the nose and forward fuselage was about 45°. The instrument panel exhibited impact damage on both the upper and lower portions of the panel. The ELT was found selected in the "off" position.

The front seat remained attached to the floor of the airplane. The lower seat cushion for the front seat was not recovered. The lap belt for the front seat was latched at the center buckle; the shoulder harnesses were wrapped around structural tubing above the seat and were not latched at the center buckle. The seat back of the front seat was bent forward about 45°. The floor of the forward fuselage was crushed up and aft, between 7 and 10 inches, into the lower portion of the cabin's occupiable space.

The right side of the front lap belt was tied in a knot to a wire bracket that was attached to the seat. The wire bracket was stock to the original airplane design. The left side of the front lap belt was not secured to its wire bracket after the accident. The wire bracket was present and intact in its normal location on the seat frame. There was no visible damage to the seatbelt webbing; however, the left end of the seatbelt webbing was creased in a manner consistent with the webbing having been previously knotted.

The rear seat remained attached to the floor of the airplane. The forward frame of the seat pan was bowed down. The lap belt for the rear seat was latched at the center buckle; the shoulder harnesses were not latched at the center buckle. The floor of the aft fuselage was crushed up into the fuselage.

The right side of the aft lap belt was connected to the seat through a wire bracket. The wire bracket was stock to the original airplane design. The wire bracket on the left side of the aft lap belt was fractured leaving that side of the lap belt unsecured to the airframe. A portion of the wire bracket separated entirely and was not recovered. There was no visible damage or creasing to the seatbelt webbing.

The right lower door was crushed and bent. Plexi glass on the upper right door was bowed but was otherwise unremarkable. The left side windscreen and left aft windscreen remained intact. The forward windscreen was fragmented and separated from the airplane.

The engine and propeller remained attached to the fuselage. The engine mounts were bent, and the firewall was wrinkled. The magneto P-leads were impact damage and could not be functionally tested. The upper spark plugs and valve covers were removed. The spark plugs exhibited signatures consistent with recent exposure to water but were otherwise normal when compared to a Champion Spark Plug Chart. The engine rotated through at the propeller. Continuity to the accessory gears and valve train was established and tactile compression was noted on all cylinders.
Engagement of the impulse coupling was detected. The carburetor separated and was impact damaged. The lower portion of engine and oil pan were crushed upward.

The two propeller blades were labeled "A" and "B" for identification purposes. Blade A was unremarkable. Blade B was bowed aft and exhibited scoring on the blade face. The propeller spinner was crushed aft with circular/rotational scoring. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Sacred Heart Hospital, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, performed the autopsy on the pilot on May 25, 2017, as authorized by the Barron County Medical Examiner. The autopsy report listed the pathologic diagnosis as "fresh water drowning secondary to aircraft accident" The autopsy listed blunt force trauma to the head including facial lacerations and abrasions which "likely [led] to a loss of consciousness.".

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens collected during the pilot's autopsy. Results were negative for all tests conducted.

The passenger was hospitalized for 22 days following the accident. He sustained a broken left ankle, a broken lower spine, multiple facial fractures, a collapsed lung, and a concussion. 

Survival Aspects

According to the passenger he was not wearing a shoulder harness and did not recall seeing one in the airplane.

An image from a Snap Chat video taken by the passenger and shared with law enforcement officers following the accident showed that the passenger was not wearing a shoulder harness when the video was taken. The pilot was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and it was not clear whether he was wearing a shoulder harness when the video was taken.

The passenger stated that after the airplane hit the water, he could not feel the seatbelt, and he never took it off or unlatched it. He recalled being underwater and feeling like he was drowning. He was able to get to the surface and swim to the bank of the river.

The pilot was ejected from the airplane and found face down in the water when first responders arrived.

The pilot's father stated that when flying from the rear seat, using the shoulder harnesses was often cumbersome and he and the accident pilot had a bad habit of not using the shoulder harnesses. The rear shoulder harness was mounted to the ceiling of the airplane, aft of the pilot's head, using bolts and a bracket that was secured around the tubing structure under the fabric skin of the ceiling.

The front shoulder harness was mounted to the ceiling of the airplane, directly above the front seat, using bolts and a bracket that was secured around the tubing structure under the fabric of the ceiling. The pilot's father stated that the shoulder harness for the front seat occupant, was mounted in such a way that it impaired the vision of the pilot when seated in the rear seat. 

Tests And Research

The left mounting wire bracket for the aft lap belt was sent to the National Transportation Safety Board Materials Laboratory for further examination. The wire was consistent in size and dimension with the original design from Piper Aircraft. There were no entries in the logbook indicating that the wire brackets had been changed or replaced. A portion of the mounting bracket separated and was not recovered. The features of one fracture surface were consistent with overload. The other fracture surface exhibited features consistent with both rubbing and overload.


Owen Knutson 

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA196

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 24, 2017 in Chetek, WI
Aircraft: PIPER J3C, registration: N35132
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 May 24, 2017, about 1830 central daylight time, a Piper J3C 65 airplane, N35132, crashed into a river 3.5 miles southwest of Chetek, Wisconsin. The private pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The local flight departed a private airstrip near Chetek, Wisconsin, about 1800. 

According to several witnesses in the area, the airplane flew over the witnesses who were fishing on a pond near the river. One witness remarked that the door of the airplane was open and the two occupants were waving at them. The airplane continued to the north and then started a turn to the right. Both witnesses stated that they heard a "pop" noise from the engine which they characterized as a backfire. One witness stated that the engine was at a lower rpm as the airplane flew over him. After the "pop" the airplane descended below the tree line and the witnesses heard the crash.

The airplane wreckage was located in the Red Cedar River. The wreckage included both wings, the empennage, fuselage, and the engine and propeller assembly.