Sunday, September 01, 2019

Loss of Control in Flight: Cessna 150L, N19366, accident occurred May 27, 2018 at Sky Soaring Airport (55LL), Union, McHenry County, Illinois

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Plaines, Illinois
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Union, IL
Accident Number: CEN18LA205
Date & Time: 05/27/2018, 1815 CDT
Registration: N19366
Aircraft: CESSNA 150L
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Glider Tow 

On May 27, 2018, about 1815 central daylight time, a Cessna 150L airplane, N19366, was substantially damaged during an in-flight collision with power lines and terrain after an attempted go-around at the Sky Soaring Airport (55LL), Union, Illinois. The pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Sky Soaring Inc. as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 glider tow flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from 55LL about 1800.

The pilot had completed five glider tow flights during the afternoon. He took a break about 1700 before completing two additional glider tow flights. The initial six tow flights were completed without incident. The accident flight was conducted to 2,000 feet and the glider released without incident.

The pilot recalled that during his return to the airport for landing "something was wrong." Although there was plenty of daylight, he stated that it seemed to "get dark." The airplane was high on the approach and he angled away from the runway to lose some altitude. He recalled continuing inbound but was unsure of the airspeed or altitude as the airplane crossed the threshold. He commented that there might have been some residual engine power on; however, he did not recall verifying that the throttle was at idle. The airplane was heading west into the sun and he aimed for an opening in the trees off the end of the runway. He did not see the power lines until it was too late. He recalled a "blue flash" and his next recollection was being treated by paramedics after the accident.

The pilot recalled not having an "aviation related thought" as the airplane "bounced down the field," and noted that heat exhaustion or dehydration might have been responsible. He added that he had not had such an event, where things seemed to "get dark," either before or since the accident. He did not perceive any issues with the airplane during the accident flight.

A witness reported that the pilot was returning from a glider tow flight at the time of the accident. The pilot had executed a go-around and was climbing out when the airplane impacted powerlines about 600 ft from the end of the runway.

The airplane came to rest upright in an agricultural field about 200 ft from the power lines. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction.

A review of the pilot's medical records revealed that he had reported several medical conditions to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), including non-obstructive coronary artery disease, hypertension, and atrial fibrillation. After review of additional information, the FAA issued a special issuance medical certificate with a requirement to wear distant vision corrective lenses and to have near vision corrective lenses available. The certificate was not valid for any class after June 30, 2013. The pilot had subsequently completed the requirements for certification under BasicMed on August 24, 2017. His BasicMed certification was valid at the time of the accident.

During his postaccident treatment for multiple traumatic injuries, the pilot developed episodes of recurrent atrial fibrillation associated with low blood pressure. He was unaware of any palpitations during the atrial fibrillation episodes but did "feel bad" which was thought to be related to the low blood pressure. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Engineer
Age: 88, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/27/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 17000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 300 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N19366
Model/Series: 150L L
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1973
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Utility
Serial Number: 15074368
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/12/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1601 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 10 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 794.9 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors
ELT: C91A installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-200-A
Registered Owner: Sky Soaring Inc.
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator: Sky Soaring Inc.
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: DKB, 913 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1815 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 215°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 90°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.87 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 33°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Union, IL (55LL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Union, IL (55LL)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1800 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Airport Information

Airport: Sky Soaring (55LL)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 884 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Vegetation
Runway Used: 27
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3000 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

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: 42.154167, -88.511389 (est)


  1. 88 years old........time to give it a rest, pal.

  2. You are only as old as you feel,when you quit feeling, you're too old😄

  3. When you don't know whether you are feeling or not is also a cue to walk away rather than be carried away

  4. Kind of curious- 88 and using Basic Med.

    I do hope they included the Dr issuing Basic Med during the inquiry

    and the following restrictions for use of Basic Med

    "Operating Requirements

    Flight not operated for compensation or hire"

  5. Old timer flying aside (really, hang up the wings good sir, your time is done in the air), I wouldn't have ever even thought a 100hp C-150 was powerful enough tow a glider, or at least get it off the ground without a really long roll - longer than this field's 3000' turf grass is anyway. There's a soaring school there (Sky Soaring Glider Club)that only has an old C-182A as its tow plane according to their website.

  6. This 150 was modified for towing with a lycoming 0360. Lack of power does not appear to be a factor.

  7. Ah that makes more sense. But I wonder what variant because the 360s go from 145hp up to over 200hp (my formerly owned 172S's -L2A variant made 180). I just wonder why does the report data on the powerplant say "Rated Power: 100 hp." Sounds like a quick ID of things not knowing about the engine upgrade.

  8. Pilot report consistent with heart failure during the flight. Hangup your spurs! You are also responsible for others! Get an ultralight with a BRS!