Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Cessna 172K Skyhawk, N78192: Accident occurred September 24, 2019 near Central Jersey Regional Airport (47N), Hillsborough Township, Somerset County, New Jersey

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

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Allentown, Pennsylvania 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Manville, NJ

Accident Number: ERA19LA280
Date & Time: 09/24/2019, 1205 EDT
Registration: N78192
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On September 24, 2019, about 1205 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172K, N78192, was substantially damaged during a forced landing while on approach to Central Jersey Regional Airport (47N) in Manville, New Jersey. The student pilot was not injured. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the solo instructional flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed Atlantic City International Airport (ACY), Atlantic City, New Jersey, about 1120.

According to the student pilot, he had departed 47N about 0930 with 30 gallons of fuel for a solo cross-country flight to Cape May County Airport (WWD), Wildwood New Jersey, then ACY and subsequently a return to 47N. He had calculated that the airplane's fuel consumption would be about 15 gallons for the 187 nautical mile trip.

At the end of the cross-country flight the pilot entered the traffic pattern for runway 25 at 47N. As the airplane was abeam the runway numbers on the downwind leg, he applied the carburetor heat, reduced the power to 1,500 rpm, and selected 10° of flaps. On the base leg, he selected 20° of flaps and set the power to 1,700 rpm. As he turned from the base leg to final approach leg of the traffic pattern, the engine started to run rough. He then made a radio call to announce the trouble. His flight instructor was flying nearby and responded to the student pilot's radio call. As the student pilot and flight instructor discussed the engine over the radio, the engine experienced a total loss of power. The student pilot then confirmed that the fuel selector was on "both," the mixture was rich and the carburetor heat was on. He turned off the carburetor heat and attempted to restart the engine, but the "engine did not respond, and the propeller did not move."

The student pilot determined the airplane would not reach the runway. He secured the engine and then landed in the treetops. After the airplane came to a stop, he noticed branches had punctured both wings and fuel was leaking from both sides of the airplane.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the airplane came to rest upright in the treetops about 70 ft above the ground. After the airplane was removed from the trees, the inspector found that little or no fuel remained in the wing tanks. Fuel was present in, and sampled from, the engine fuel drain. It was blue in color, and no water or debris was present. There were no holes or other visible damage noted with the engine.

The high-wing, four-seat airplane was manufactured in 1968. It was equipped with a 150 horsepower Lycoming O-320-E2D engine turning a fixed pitch two-bladed metal propeller.

According to FAA airman records, the pilot held a student pilot certificate which was issued on April 9, 2019. His first-class FAA medical certificate was issued on July 16, 2019. He reported a total of 49 hours of flight experience, all of which were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. His logbook contained a solo cross-country endorsement for the flight.

At 1153, the weather conditions at Somerset Airport, Somerville, New Jersey located about 7 miles northwest of the accident site included temperature 23° C, dew point 12° C, and wind from 330° at 8 knots.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N78192
Model/Series: 172 K
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Rtd Aviation Llc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SMQ, 105 ft msl
Observation Time: 1153 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 12°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 330°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4600 ft agl
Visibility:   10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.82 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Atlantic City, NJ (ACY)
Destination: Manville, NJ (47N)

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:  40.528889, -74.590000 (est) 

MANVILLE – A pilot was extricated from a single-engine plane hours after it crashed in a wooded area near Central Jersey Regional Airport on Tuesday.

At approximately 12:08 p.m., police from Manville and surrounding towns were dispatched to an area near the Millstone River across the street from the airport where they located the plane entangled in trees, according to a release from the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.  The pilot was the only occupant and was reportedly uninjured, according to the release.

By 4:10 p.m., the pilot had been safely removed from the plane and was being taken to an area hospital for monitoring, according to the prosecutor’s office.

According to Det. Lt. John Crater of the Manville Police Department the Cessna 172K Skyhawk was flown by a 32-year-old man from Somerset County, Crater said.

He was taken to the hospital for observation but reported he had no injuries, Crater said, adding that there were no injuries to first responders at the scene, as well.

"He was very calm though," Crater said of the pilot. "We had cell phone communication with him the entire time."

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the plane was still in the trees.

The pilot was taken down from the tree with the assistance of Keiling Tree Care from Bernardsville, which brought a track spider lift to the scene.

The inbound aircraft collided with trees and caught fire, said Jim Peters, spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA will investigate, and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine probable cause of the accident, Peters said.

A reporter saw authorities Tuesday afternoon in the woods off Wilhousky Street near the river. The Manville Causeway was closed from the corner of South Main and Wilhousky streets to Weston Canal Road.

Dozens of first responders from around the state were at the scene, including Hunterdon County Public Safety and Newark Fire Department.

Officials said the plane was caught in trees about 75 feet off the ground.

Central Jersey Regional Airport could not be reached for comment.

Story and video ➤


  1. That went in about as easy as it possibly could. Now to get it down......

  2. Agreed! A nice size crane with a dude hanging on to the end to strap it up comes to mind! I'd like to see that!

  3. Not sure the insurance company would validate the expense of a kid gloves removal. Crane companies are not cheap to hire. This thing looks written off just from the broken wings and smashed cowling alone. Parts bird. Tree service comes back out and takes out supporting branches letting it fall.

  4. "The inbound aircraft collided with trees and caught fire ..."
    Not seeing charring/smoke residue in the pictures. Very small fire that quickly self-extinguished?

    I wouldn't want to be removing supporting branches and letting it fall on my head. A crane appears to be the safest method. Even a bucket truck will be dangerous because the debris might fall in an unintended direction. Perhaps a super bucket truck that can lift up and over the wreckage from a safe distance. Does insurance have to pay for that, or does the local govt pay for emergency recovery/cleanup? The wreckage is a public hazard ... dunno who pays.

  5. I’m sure the local govt will gladly pick up the bill and save the owner some change.