Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser, N78466: Fatal accident occurred May 24, 2022 in Seagraves, Gaines County, Texas

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 Entities: 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas

Location: Seagraves, Texas
Accident Number: CEN22FA211
Date and Time: May 24, 2022, 07:00 Local 
Registration: N78466
Aircraft: Piper PA-12 
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On May 24, 2022, about 0700, a Piper PA-12 airplane, N78466 sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Seagraves, Texas. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to local authorities and family acquaintances, the pilot had been flying in the local area for several weeks with aspirations to become an agricultural pilot. During those weeks, the airplane had been observed by several local persons to be flying at low altitude and performing “ag-type maneuvers” over the fields. The airplane wreckage was located by a farmer about 1150, and there were no witnesses to the accident.

Postaccident examination of the accident site revealed the airplane impacted the terrain in a nose and right-wing low attitude. The initial ground scar was consistent with the propeller, engine, forward fuselage, left and right wings. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage.

Examination of the airplane revealed flight control continuity was established from the cockpit to all flight control surfaces. The engine remained partially attached to the firewall and was unable to be manually rotated due to damage to the engine crankcase. The propeller blades displayed forward twisting deformation. The airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N78466
Model/Series: PA-12
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file 
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: KGNC,3315 ft msl
Observation Time: 07:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C /14°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 90°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 2800 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.85 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Seagraves, TX (F97)
Destination: Seagraves, TX

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 32.922179,-102.62558 (est)

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances.  

Date: 24-MAY-22
Time: 16:50:00Z
Regis#: N78466
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA12
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Flight Crew: 1 fatal
Pax: 0
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
Aircraft Missing: No
State: TEXAS

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.


A plane crashed in a field near Five Points Gin on Monday. It is believed a local farmer spotted the plane when he was checking water on Tuesday around noon.

Seagraves Volunteer Fire Department, Gaines County Sheriff's Office, Seminole EMS and DPS responded to the scene. This information has not yet been confirmed, the Seminole Sentinel is still awaiting an official response. 

SEAGRAVES, Texas (KCBD) - A 19-year-old from Loop, Texas, died after crashing a plane near Seagraves Tuesday morning.

The crash happened just before Noon, 3.5 miles southwest of Seagraves.

Department of Public Safety officials say Ronald Wiebe was the pilot.

A farmer found the crashed plane in his field between CR 226 and CR 103. The pilot was deceased.

The cause of the plane crash is not known.

The NTSB and FAA were notified and are investigating.

GAINES COUNTY, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – One person is dead after Texas DPS says that a single-engine plane crashed in a farmer’s field yesterday morning.

Officers reported that the pilot of the 1947 Piper PA-12 plane was 19-year-old, Ronald Wiebe of Loop, Texas. The Texas DPS report reveals that the crash happened around 11:51 am on Monday, May 24th, just 3 and a half miles Southwest of Seagraves, TX.

Texas DPS says that a farmer noticed that the plane had crashed in his field between County Road 226 and County Road 103.

According to the Texas DPS report, Wiebe was pronounced dead at the scene. The NTSB and FAA have been notified about the crash and are conducting an investigation.


    Medical Class: Third Medical Date: 9/2000
    Certificate: PRIVATE PILOT Date of Issue: 10/21/1995 PRIVATE PILOT
    Certificate: MECHANIC
    Date of Issue: 10/23/1989 MECHANIC AIRFRAME POWERPLANT.

    1. age listed above as 19, and from Texas. Only 'Wiebe' noted in the registry is RONALD LEE WIEBE, listed address AMERICUS KS 66835-9561.

    2. Math doesn't add up. So,this 19-year-old pilot got his A&P 33 years ago. Then 27 years ago he became a Private Pilot - ASEL.

      Sounds like a Sr. and Jr, or a Jr. and III, and the Ronald Lee Wiebe listed in the registry wasn't flying the aircraft ... and he has a 19-year-old son.

  2. Registered owner has an Ag Air biz, several aircraft. Crash wasn't far away, maybe this was an uncertified pilot's informal hop gone wrong.

    1. Again, Math doesn't add up!!! Whoever was flying the Super Cruiser was not Ronald Lee Weibe, the A&P pilot in the registry.

      And, as usual we (us) pilots try and hash out What, Where, and Who, and Why while trying to sort out the details in order to ascertain the cause.

      Indications are that there was a 19-year-old non-certified person who crashed and killed himself.

    2. in unattended rural airstrips whose to know or care! own your own plane, access to the basic of flying and simple panel. was common within agi community private grass strips to just pass on the basics, minutes in the air vs hour on the ground using the grid road system.

    3. Last commentor finally nails it, which many of us suspected. Such a vague and poorly written (and hush hush) accident report to begin with (like many we see here on KR). Like I said before, the math didn't add up.


    Airman opted-out of releasing address
    Medical Information:
    Medical Class: Third Medical Date: 2/2021
    BasicMed Course Date: None BasicMed CMEC Date: None

    Certificates Description
    Certificate: PRIVATE PILOT
    Date of Issue: 9/23/2021


  4. This may have been the owner’s son practicing in hopes of becoming an aerial applicator. Whatever the story, very sad. RIP

  5. winds gusting well over 35 MPH all that day and the day before

    1. full power works to takeoff, yet battling 35mph gusts once aloft, and then finding a runway favorable to the prevailing winds will make you wish you ever lifted off ..

    2. Truer words were never spoken.

    3. Preliminary report says 7 knots, no gusts.

  6. I'll bet this 19-year-old was the mirror image of myself and many other pilot/commentors here on KR. He, like so many of us, dreamed of becoming a pilot. He probably read and studied everything he could get his hands on about aviation. More than likely he built model airplanes in his youth, perhaps flying RC and hand-wire models with his dad and friends.

    Like many of us, he probably learned how to drive a car on remote rural, back-country roads with some buddies in an old Junker ... with, or without the blessings of his dad. But, if his dad found out he probably wouldn't have gotten a whipping, but instead a hug.

    His fateful flight in his dad's Super Cruiser may not have been his first. But he chose to fly out of a remote AG strip that posed no threat to anyone but himself. Much like learning to drive on that remote back-country road.

    Hat's off to this brave lad, who mirrors many of us here commenting on KR. He had the "Right Stuff" but inexperience and the typical Texas winds sealed his fate.

    RIP brave one.

    1. Texas winds. Understatement.

    2. Wind wasn't the problem. 7 knots, per prelim report.

  7. Preliminary is out. Pilot aspired to become an Ag pilot, had been flying Ag-similar maneuvers recently toward that goal. Wind reported as 7 knots, no gusts.


    1. "flying Ag maneuvers" Ag acft are rugged STOL design.

  8. It looks like it went in on its nose. It is all compacted into a small area. A very hard impact. Maybe a stall/spin.

  9. Accident was caused by heat waves. Co pilot refused to go with.