Plane crash map Find crash sites, wreckage and more

N7178G accident description

Go to the Arizona map...
Go to the Arizona list...

Tail numberN7178G
Accident dateNovember 15, 1994
Aircraft typeC-172(AF)
Cessna 172K(NTSB)
LocationSpringerville, AZ
Near 34.03333 N, -109.33333 W
Additional details: White/Tan/Brown

NTSB description

On November 15, 1994, at 0738 hours mountain standard time, a Cessna 172K, N7178G, crashed about 5 miles south of Springerville Babbitt Airport, Springerville, Arizona. The pilot was conducting a local visual flight rules deer/elk scouting flight. The airplane, registered to and operated by Armand D. & Dorothy Groeneveld, dba A-D Rentals, Show Low Airport, Show Low, Arizona, was destroyed by the resulting impact forces. The certificated private pilot and his two passengers sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated at Show Low Airport on November 15, 1994, at 0640 hours. The flight landed at Springerville Babbitt Airport about 0702 hours and departed on the accident flight at 0730 hours.

The pilot's family reported the airplane missing to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the evening of November 15, 1994. The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and other rescue facilities initiated the search on November 16, 1994, but without success. CAP stopped the airborne search efforts due to inclement weather in the afternoon of November 16, 1994. On November 17, 1994, at 0830 hours a deer hunter found the wreckage and notified the Apache County Sheriff's Department. There were no ground witnesses.

The operator told National Transportation Safety Board investigators on November 17, 1994, that the pilot rented the airplane to scout for deer.

Apache County Sheriff's deputies told Safety Board investigators that the flight departed Springerville Airport and they were unable to ascertain the flight's arrival time. Safety Board investigators estimated the flight time between Show Low and Springerville airports at 22 minutes.

Crew Information

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He also held an unrestricted third-class medical certificate issued by an FAA designated airman medical examiner on September 26, 1994. The FAA airman records revealed the pilot received his private pilot certificate on April 18, 1989.

Safety Board investigators recovered the pilot's flight hours logbook. The flight hours reflected on page three of this report were obtained from the pilot's logbook. The logbook examination showed the pilot accrued 355 flight hours, 344 of which were flown in the accident airplane make and model. The pilot logged 330 hours as pilot-in-command. During the preceding 90 days of the accident, the pilot flew 1.8 hours before beginning the accident flight; he also did six takeoffs and landings during this period.

The logbook examination also revealed the pilot satisfactorily completed a biennial flight review (BFR) as required by current federal air regulations on November 11, 1994. Safety Board investigators interviewed the flight instructor who administered the pilot's BFR on November 18, 1994. The instructor said the pilot did all the required maneuvers excellently. He also said he emphasized slow flight and stall recognition maneuvers during the BFR.

Aircraft Information

The FAA issued the airplane its initial airworthiness certificate on December 3, 1969. The operator provided the airplane's maintenance records to the Safety Board. Examination of the records revealed that an independent aircraft mechanic, with an inspection authorization, completed the last 100-hour inspection on November 1, 1994. The airplane accrued 4,723.1 hours at the time of the inspection. The same mechanic completed the last annual inspection on May 18, 1994. The airplane accrued 4,525.4 hours at the time of the inspection. At the time of the accident, the airplane accrued 4,732.9 hours.

The maintenance records also revealed that the operator installed a Horton Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) kit. This kit appreciably reduces the airplane's normal stall speed and allows for a shorter takeoff and landing distances.

According to the operator's rental tach/hobbsmeter sheet, the tachometer hourmeter showed 4,732.4 hours when the pilot departed Show Low Airport, beginning the first leg of the accident flight. The recording hobbsmeter, which records the total time the engine is running, showed 5,576.7 hours. At the time of the accident, the hobbsmeter showed 5,577.3 hours.

Meteorological Information

Show Low Airport is the closest official weather observation facility from the accident site. The following data is the Show Low Airport 0650 and the 0850 surface weather observations, respectively:

Sky conditions - clear; visibility - 40 miles; temperature - 19 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point - 14 degrees Fahrenheit; surface winds - calm; altimeter setting - 30.28 inHg.

Sky conditions - clear; visibility - 40 miles; temperature - 27 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point - 12 degrees Fahrenheit; surface winds - 320 degrees at 4 knots; altimeter setting - 30.28 inHg.

Springerville Babbitt Airport does not have a surface weather observation facility. Safety Board investigators obtained the weather data reflected on page four of this report from the Apache County Sheriff's Department deputies.

Wreckage and Impact Information

The accident site is located about 50 feet beneath the ridge of a mountain at 7,800 foot mean sea level (msl). The site is about 5 miles south of Springerville Babbitt Airport. Several trees surround the crash site. Ground scars and wreckage examination showed the airplane struck the ground in a vertical nose-down attitude with its wings rotating to the right, about its longitudinal axis. The airplane struck the ground with the top of the fuselage facing 220 degrees (all headings/bearings in this report are oriented toward magnetic north). The airplane came to rest in a nose-down attitude about 10 feet northeast of the initial impact point.

All of the airplane's major components and flight controls were found at the main impact area. Both wings, except the left wing- to-fuselage attach fittings, remained connected to their respective fittings. The left wing was canted forward and the rear spar fracture surface displayed extensive tensile overload signatures. The upper surface of the left wing displayed three, 45-degree spanwise buckled areas. Safety Board investigators found the left wing lower fuselage attach fitting separated from its attachment. Rescue personnel, however, reported that they cut the strut.

The right wing displayed extensive downward and rearward leading edge crushing from the wing tip to the fuselage root area. The crushing signatures were more pronounced at the outer panel and diminished at the root area. The upper wing surface also displayed several spanwise, 45-degree buckled areas. The right wing strut remained connected at its respective upper and lower attach fittings.

Safety Board investigators found the cabin/cockpit area extremely compromised. The instrument panel and both flight control wheels were destroyed. Continuity of the flight control cables to the cabin/cockpit area was established. Rescue personnel reported that they cut the pilot's lapbelt during the extrication process. Both front seat shoulder harnesses displayed evidence of being worn by the occupants.

The aft fuselage, about 12 inches forward of the lower vertical fin fairing, was found buckled to the right and crushed downwards. The empennage sustained minor damage.

The engine remained attached to the airframe firewall by its respective engine mounts. The engine mounting ears displayed extensive rearward crushing signatures.

The propeller hub assembly remained attached to the engine crankshaft. One propeller blade displayed some chordwise scuffing and about 15 degrees bending toward the camber (forward) side. The remaining blade was bent 90 degrees toward the face (rearward) side. The bend began about 8 inches outboard of the hub. The blade, outboard of the bending area, displayed extensive leading edge gouging, chordwise scuffing, and "S" twisting. The propeller spinner displayed extreme rearward crushing and torsional twisting.

Additional Information

An Apache County Sheriff's Deputy told Safety Board investigators that local deer hunters reported several deer were sighted near the accident area. They said that the accident site is deer nesting area.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.