Saturday, July 31, 2021

Piper J3C-65 Cub, N42522: Fatal accident occurred July 31, 2021 near Hartford Municipal Airport (KHXF), Washington County, Wisconsin

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.

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Location: Hartford, WI
Accident Number: CEN21FA345
Date & Time: July 31, 2021, 11:30 Local 
Registration: N42522
Aircraft: Piper J3C-65 
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On July 31, 2021, about 1130 central daylight time, a Piper J3C-65 airplane, N42522, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Hartford, Wisconsin. The flight instructor was fatally injured and the pilot receiving instruction was seriously injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 instructional flight.

The pilot receiving instruction reported that they had been practicing touch-and-go takeoffs and landings from runway 27 at the Hartford Municipal Airport (HXF) and had performed about 10 before the accident occurred. On the accident takeoff, when the airplane reached about 400-500 ft. agl, the instructor said, “engine failure, turn around for 09”. Both pilots were on the controls at this time and started a turn for runway 09 when the airplane entered a “graveyard spin”. He reported that he remembered about one to two seconds of the spin and had no further recollection of the accident.

The airplane impacted a bean field about 1,100 ft. west of the departure end of runway 27 at HXF. Based on impact signatures, the airplane impacted in a left-wing low, nose low attitude, with the airplane coming to rest about 35 ft west of the initial impact point. A postaccident examination of the airplane confirmed control system continuity from the cockpit controls to all control surfaces. There were no separations in any of the flight control cables.

The left-wing spars were broken at the wing root, but the remainder of the wing remained predominately intact. Both left lift struts were bent and remained attached at the fuselage and wing. The right wing remained attached to the fuselage with little damage. Both right lift struts were bent and remained attached to the fuselage and wing. The forward lower fuselage at the firewall was pushed rearward. The engine remained attached to the fuselage. One propeller blade was bent aft and under the engine, and the crankshaft was partially separated just aft of the propeller flange. 

Examination of the engine confirmed rotation, thumb compression, valve train continuity, and ignition on all spark plug leads. All spark plugs were examined, and no anomalies were noted. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N42522
Model/Series: J3C-65 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KETB,884 ft msl 
Observation Time: 11:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C /16°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2800 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / 8 knots, 260°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Hartford, WI
Destination: Hartford, WI

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious 
Latitude, Longitude: 43.350781,-88.400281 

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.





Washington County, Wisconsin Sheriff's Office

Date: July 31, 2021
Case: Plane Crash 21-26015
Authority: Sgt. Chad Beres

On today’s date at 11:22am the Sheriff’s Office was notified of a plane crash in a corn field west of Cty Tk U south of Arthur Rd in the Town of Hartford.  This area is directly west of the Hartford Municipal Airport which is located at 4200 Cty TK U.  Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the scene along with Officers from the Hartford Police Department and personnel from Hartford Fire & Rescue.

A caller reported the plane was occupied by 2 subjects; a male and a female.  According to the caller the male was conscious and appeared to be in shock.  The female subject was not conscious.  Upon the first officers arrival it was determined the female would need to be extricated from the plane.  It was determined that the male subject is a pilot and was receiving instruction/supervision by the female subject who is an instructor.  

The male subject was transported from the scene via ambulance to AMC Hartford and then transported via Flight for Life to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa.  The female subject was extricated from the plane and taken to the Life Net hangar at the airport and then to AMC Summit by the Life Net helicopter.    

This is an active investigation and the FAA Milwaukee Office is currently on scene.  At this time there is no update in regards to the status of the plane occupants.  





52 comments:

  1. Checking nearby AWOS wind readings at the time:

    KETB 311615Z AUTO 25006KT 10SM SCT026 SCT030 23/16 A3002
    KUNU 311555Z AUTO 24004KT 10SM OVC010 19/16 A3005
    KUNU 311615Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM BKN012 20/16 A3005
    KRYV 311615Z AUTO 26003KT 10SM SCT018 23/17 A3003
    KUES 311545Z 28007KT 10SM BKN023 22/15 A3005

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  2. from photo orination, approximate accident site @ 43°21'05.7"N 88°24'06.1"W , indicating possible on base to final for Rwy 9 threshold (43°21'02.4"N 88°23'44.3"W); or departure from Rwy 27. KHXF also has runway 18/36 turf, in fair condition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was departure from 27. Landing on 9 that day would have been very dangerous.

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    2. Wind direction makes sense for departing RW27:
      http://maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:43.351140+-88.400665

      Matching location street view photo where loader is backing into the airport property:
      https://goo.gl/maps/LVMMJUkWsDWb3MAn7

      Delete
    3. agree with 27; posted my comment prior to reading local conditions at 11:30 AM 72.8 °F 64.0 °F 74 % NW 2.0 mph 10.0 mph @ https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KWIHARTL5/table/2021-07-31/2021-07-31/daily

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  3. I have personally flown that airplane and extensively at that airport in the past. Using the grass next to 9/27 is a common practice as well as the grass runways. They were using either 18 or 27 and perhaps an engine failure at departure. The propeller did not appear to be curled at the ends suggesting a prop strike under motion.

    Unfortunately there has been a loss of life, so perhaps trying to guess what happened isn't appropriate at this time

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    Replies
    1. I completely agree with this post. I too have flown this airplane with this group of professional aviators at this airport. The investigation will bring the facts to light in due time. For now let's honor our fallen aviator, her family, and her aviation family instead of speculating.

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    2. Was it lap belts/no shoulder harness when you two flew it?

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    3. I have flown all 3 planes owned by the school, all 3 have lap belts only. I agree shoulder restraints could have made a difference. This plane was the best of the fleet of 3, and was certainly not the workhorse of the flight school. Very sad day for the folks at HXF and Cub Air.

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  4. It looks like they hit hard but the cockpit area is not crushed in from the pictures . I wonder if it had shoulder harness's? Seems like some of these crashes where only lap belts are installed the front seat ends up in a fatality the rear seat survives. This is exactly why vehicles 40 years ago required to have shoulder harness seatbelts. I don't know why the FAA doesn't require it in aircraft I know lot of people cry about it, but it would save lives. I won't get into an aircraft without a shoulder harness except airlines I don't know why they don't have them either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Photos and videos of Cub Air J3's on youtube and their web page are from several years ago but show no shoulder belts.

      Providing flight training and public rides in older GA aircraft lacking shoulder belts makes no sense if a STC kit has been developed for the model being flown. Shoulder belt kits for the J3 sell for $203 per seat.

      Your question of why there is no mandatory retrofit rule was answered long ago by the FAA in a policy statement:

      "Removing many of the barriers associated with installing retrofit shoulder harnesses will allow owners of older aircraft to have them installed in their aircraft. With the removal of these barriers, it is not necessary to place an additional regulatory burden on aircraft owners."

      https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/gen_av/harness_kits/media/shoulderpolicy.pdf

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    2. People involved with cubs are very aware of available STC-certified shoulder harness kits. Sadly, keeping the machines in "true to original" form may be the unflattering explanation why "Professional Aviators" at a school might decline to make the harness upgrade.

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    3. I’m in agreement, not a huge fan of FAA mandates, but totally agree shoulder harnesses may be the best bang for your buck safety/survival equipment one can install on an older a/c. I had the factory single shoulder harness in our Cherokee, installed BAS about a year ago, hopefully they are never tested. Prayers for the family for their loss, and for a speedy recovery for the student. God Bless.

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    4. As a small tailwheel flight school owner, I'd suggest that insurance companies ought to give a first-year break for proof of shoulder harnesses on board. When you are paying $3-4000 dollars for insurance, plus operating expenses, even $300 for a shoulder harness install can be a challenging deal.

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    5. Since smoking hole crashes won't benefit from shoulder harnesses, the data that insurance companies use for risk-based pricing may not differentiate for the narrowly represented accident cases where a shoulder harness does make the difference.

      Providing flight training and public rides in lap belt only vintage aircraft creates a ethical dilemma in that no specific warning is required to be given or acknowledged for the increased risk of head trauma and facial injuries.

      Imagine the sorrow and regret to be the person who had the Safety Management responsibility over an aircraft where a shoulder harness preventable brain injury or death occurs.

      The unmet $300 expense challenge would eat at you for the rest of your days.

      Delete
  5. Agree on the the shoulder harness....those airplanes are being used in flight school operations, and there are several vendors of Harness's for the J3. Our Aztec and Super Viking had them from the factory, but I had them installed in the 67 Cherokee 140. Not a guarantee, but may keep your head/upper body safer. Also the J3 has the fuel tank in front...

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    1. Good on ya for upgrading the 140. The young CFI who survived the N5969W crash suffered serious facial injuries. He had been trained in aircraft with shoulder harnesses but started up a flight school business using a Cherokee 140 without the harness upgrade.

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    2. I just bought a Cessna 140A; one of the huge selling points was that the previous owner had installed the STC'd 4pt shoulder harness. I've seen too many accidents on here that should have been survivable with a shoulder belt. The ones that get me, are the professionals who refuse to wear them. I fly with them often. Reference the Falcon accident recently; passengers survived, cockpit crew died.

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    3. The N112JH crash makes you wonder whether someone did not believe in wearing the restraints. Departing the cockpit is unusual during flight.

      http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2021/08/pitts-model-12-n112jh-fatal-accident.html

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  6. Looking at the wreckage, it seems to me that the airplane "belly-flopped" almost straight down, with little forward speed. The first photo of this article shows the left side of the airplane with a clear view of the left wing struts which appear to have failed in compression. Stalled at 50 ft. AGL?


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  7. In terms of crashworthiness, the Cub is a nightmare, in our view, particularly for the front-seat passenger. He or she sits directly behind the engine and fuel tank, a potentially lethal combination. (Piper won a lawsuit based on the poor crashworthiness of the Super Cubs small nose-mounted header tank, which essentially sits in the front seat occupants lap. But the J-3 is much worse: Its the main fuel tank that sits in his lap.)

    Theres virtually no crush zone ahead of the front-seater to absorb crash impact. The seat belts are badly designed and their anchor points are entirely inadequate, in our estimation. There is no shoulder harness. The rear-seater, with more crush zone ahead, is better off in terms of frontal impact. But in a vertical impact, he may well be disemboweled; a large sharp piece of metal in the elevator control linkage lurks directly underneath the seat, which is in fact just a flimsy canvas sling.

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  8. Here is a photo taken before it was moved:
    https://newsconquest.com/file/2021/08/6G1fn-1627772267-202703-blog-0500P_HARTFORD-PLANE-CR_WDJTAB0I.JPG

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  9. KYLIE NICOLE MURRAY

    1660 WEDGEWOOD DR
    LAKE FOREST IL 60045-3761
    County: LAKE
    Country: USA
    Medical Information:
    Medical Class: First Medical Date: 2/2017
    BasicMed Course Date: None BasicMed CMEC Date: None
    Certificates
    COMMERCIAL PILOT

    FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR
    Certificates Description
    Certificate: FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR
    Date of Issue: 7/26/2020

    Ratings:
    FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR
    AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE

    Limits:
    VALID ONLY WHEN ACCOMPANIED BY PILOT CERTIFICATE NO. . EXPIRES: 31 JUL 2022.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You omitted her very recent commercial pilot certificate date:

      Certificate: COMMERCIAL PILOT
      Date of Issue: 6/10/2021
      Ratings:
      COMMERCIAL PILOT
      AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE LAND
      AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE SEA
      INSTRUMENT AIRPLANE

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    2. That date is not necessarily when she got her Commercial certificate....


      According to her linkedin she got it in June 2020.

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    3. Thanks. Copying from LinkedIn:

      Flight Instructor - Airplane
      Federal Aviation Administration
      Issued Jul 2020

      Commercial Pilot (CP) - Instrument Airplane
      Federal Aviation Administration
      Issued May 2020

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    4. Can't get a CFI before getting a commercial cert.

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    5. Her obituary says she got her seaplane rating June 2021. That is what rolled the date.

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  10. Very sad news all the way around. The Cub community is in shock and our thoughts are with all concerned.

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  11. Recent accident studies have proven that the J3 Cub and the Aeronca 7AC are statistically among the safest airplanes regarding fire following crash. In nearly all light airplanes with wing tanks the chances of fuel system compromise during crash is much worse then J3/7AC. The high wing airplanes with wing tanks are less safe than low wing. I don't want or need any more "help" from the FAA

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    Replies
    1. No fire in this particular crash, thank goodness.

      Please post links to those studies so the rest of us vintage aircraft people will have them handy to help you stand strong. If you don't have links, just posting the organization names, study titles and dates of studies you found will be enough to help us find them ourselves and share them with others.

      Happy to hear you found several recent studies- Thanks in advance!

      Delete
  12. The fabric covered Pipers have a lot of 1020 steel tubing mixed with a few pieces of 4130 tubing. The Taylorcrafts were all 4130. Much stronger and more crashworthy except that in most of the T Crafts both occupants are closer the the firewall and less protected.

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    1. 1020 vs. 4130 has nothing to do with crashworthiness/crash protection in the J-3 or any light tube and fabric airplane. It is all plenty strong enough to do it's job, and both will fold up in the same ways, as buckling is the failure type, which has nothing really to do with strength, but rather with stiffness -- the modulus of elasticity, which is the same for all steel alloys. It's the absence of shoulder straps that poses most of the danger in forward impacts of the J-3. Upward impacts cause back/spinal injuries, as will be the hazard in most small airplanes due to the state of the art in seat designs of any airplane's original era. Otherwise, enough energy at impact will buckle and crush a Cub regardless of the alloy of it's steel. I have hear the crumpling of metal interior panels can pose the odd cutting hazard. Standard fabric J-3 interiors are safer in that regard than those of the PA-11 and PA-18.

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  13. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/local/wisconsin/2021/08/04/woman-killed-hartford-plane-crash-identified-auburn-student/5486145001/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylie-murray-9624921b3

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  14. Preliminary report revealed:

    On the accident takeoff, when the airplane reached about 400-500 ft. agl, the instructor said, “engine failure, turn around for 09”.

    A planned risky maneuver but no upper body restraints available for either person.

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  15. So I want to make sure that I have this straight.
    Takeoff from 27
    Engine out drill at 500 ft. agl
    "Impossible" turn from <500ft.
    Winds 5-8 from 260

    Isn't the correct response to this problem to put the nose down to keep airspeed and seek the best landing area ahead of you?

    What am I missing? This is less height than the Washington Monument.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doing the drill at 500 feet and idle RPM is not consistent with what the school owner wrote on page 3, here:

      https://www.cubair.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/EAASA_ClassicInstructor_1811_LR.pdf

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    2. in the drill, the CFI, student, and or PIC needs to include a 5 seconds pause, per 'classicinstructor' from what aircraft incident studies tell us,
      "it takes a pilot at least five seconds after losing power before corrective action is taken. Five seconds after losing partial or all power while in a best angle of climb attitude can create a serious situation."

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  16. I don't understand the survivor's account of the crash. I was always taught that the first thing you do upon losing power at takeoff is LOWER THE NOSE to retain flying speed, then turn if circumstances and altitude permit. If you initiate a turn before lowering the nose, the outcome will not be a happy one. At 500ft. AGL, I agree that the best option would have been a straight ahead landing in the corn. Of course, I wasn't there, so I don't know what actually happened, so I may be way off base with these comments.

    Another thing is that the airplane wreckage array as described by the NTSB above, is not consistent with impact caused by a LOC spin ... unless a flat spin developed which takes a bit of altitude. Even a spin entered at a relatively low altitude usually results in impact at an extreme nose low angle. Again, I wasn't there ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A clue: "Both pilots were on the controls at this time and started a turn for runway 09"

      Seems like the instructor planned to limit stick movement of the person being instructed during the turnback. There could be a sudden over travel towards full control deflection and high bank angle if the student wins the power struggle, as seen in tabletop arm wrestling.

      Whatever recovery you can make after the unplanned stick forcing might almost avoid intercepting the dirt as you complete the pullout.

      There is also instruction interpretation at play. The school owner writes a good insight about that, here:
      https://www.cubair.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Nov2020.pdf

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  17. At 400 feet the low time new flight instructor spontaneously announces engine failure and states turn around back to the runway we just took off from. To which the certificated pilot getting a tail wheel endorsement or Cub checkout responds: I have the aircraft and we are landing straight ahead in the soybean field. Whereupon we call the highly professional flight school owner to report that an insurance claim needs to be made for the dinged up Cub. We survived to become old, rather than proving how bold we are. Maybe the young flight instructor goes on to make many endorsements, get 1500 hours, and fly 121.

    There were many people with their hands on the stick that day, and many were not in the cockpit. They knew what was happening and failed to act. This young woman is dead, in the prime of her life, over a simple procedure made inordinately complex, for no reason. If the engine quits, put the nose down now, if possible run the engine out procedures for that type, and keep flying through the landing.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly. Fly the aircraft. Maintain thy airspeed. The most basic fundamentals of flying fabric taildraggers through fighter jets through heavy airliners. I’ve flown each of these. Forgetting to fly the plane has killed folks in every type of craft. It seems very very likely that this Cub could have lowered the nose and made a soft landing in the corn straight ahead. I am not a fan of the writings of the owner of this school with the heavy emphasis on a training maneuver of turning back at low altitude and low airspeed. This inexperienced young instructor may have been mislead. So sad for her family. So so sad

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  18. Did the surviving pilot say this was a simulated engine-out?

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    Replies
    1. Second paragraph from report, pasted in by KR at the top^^.

      On the accident takeoff, when the airplane reached about 400-500 ft. agl, the instructor said, “engine failure, turn around for 09”.

      Interesting that nothing is said about throttle setting when the instructor gave the instruction. This accident's turnback may have been done at takeoff power. If she had followed the owners 1,500 feet AGL turnback practice, it would have been at idle.

      Throttle setting is an important missing detail. Perhaps omitted because idle throttle is presumed for what was spoken.

      Delete
  19. Fuck the Regs just install the shoulder harness! What is the FAA going to do, put you in jail?

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    Replies
    1. The FAA has a long memory and if you do something that is not legal, they will continue to harass you and send you warning letters, etc., until you run out of money or just quit. It's not worth pissing them off. Do it legally.

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    2. My brother died in an overloaded Cherokee 140 in a classic stall spin on takeoff. He was in the right front seat and the coroner told me his cause of death was a penetrating wound to his skull right above his right eye caused by the broken A post. A harness may have changed the outcome.

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  20. Those airplanes really should have had a harness system of some kind....

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  21. Very sad,a life lost,injuries and the loss of a historical airplane.

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