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N5054F accident description

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Tail numberN5054F
Accident dateJuly 17, 1999
Aircraft typePiper PA-28-181
LocationYorkville, IL
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 17, 1999, at 1245 central daylight time (cdt), a Piper PA-28-181, N5054F, piloted by a private rated pilot, was destroyed during an in-flight collision with the terrain near Yorkville, Illinois. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 and had a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan on file with the Dayton Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS). The pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The flight had departed Cincinnati Blue Ash Airport (ISZ), Cincinnati, Ohio, at 1140 edt, and was en-route to Naper Aero Airport (LL10), Naperville, Illinois, at the time of the accident.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) AFSS records, a pilot representing N5054F contacted the Dayton AFSS three times prior to his departure from ISZ. The Dayton AFSS reported the following information:

July 16, 1999 2036 cdt

"The pilot of N5054F called on the phone and requested an outlook briefing for a VFR [visual flight rules] flight and a weather synopsis. The pilot received a standard weather brief and was given the VNR [VFR flight not recommended] statement."

July 17, 1999 0831 cdt

"The pilot of N5054F called on the phone and requested information on a VFR flight and a weather synopsis. The pilot received a standard weather brief and was given the VNR statement."

July 17, 1999 0937 cdt

"The pilot of N5054F called on the phone and requested VFR information for a flight from Blue Ash, Ohio to Naperville, Illinois and a weather synopsis. The pilot received a weather synopsis, radar report, SA's [scheduled surface weather report], FT's [terminal forecast] and FD's [winds/temperature aloft forecast]. The pilot was informed of deteriorating weather conditions along the route of flight. The pilot filed a VFR flight plan."

Full transcripts of the voice communications between the Dayton AFSS and the accident pilot are appended to this factual report.

According to an airport Fixed Base Operator (FBO) employee at the departure airport, the accident airplane departed between 1000 and 1100 cdt.

According to FAA records, N5054F contacted the Dayton AFSS, while en-route, to activate the previously filed VFR flight plan at 1035 cdt.

According to FAA AFSS records, the pilot contacted the Terre Haute AFSS, at 1139 cdt, requesting updated weather information. The Terre Haute AFSS provided the following transcript information:

1139:10 cdt N5054F

"and indianapolis flight watch ah piper five zero four fox over"

1139:16 cdt Terre Haute AFSS

"piper aircraft calling the indianapolis flight watch i did miss the tail number if you could repeat that for me along with your present position and altitude"

1139:24 cdt N5054F

"ah roger that piper five zero five four foxtrot is at twenty eight hundred feet ah sixteen point five miles southwest of kokomo v o r requesting flight following information to chicago"

1139:47 cdt Terre Haute AFSS

"november five four foxtrot actually we will not ahh at least ahh flight watch does not provide flight following were you looking for a facility to ah get flight following from or were you looking for weather information across your route"

1140:02 cdt N5054F

"weather information i'm sorry sir i miss stated that"

1640:09 cdt Terre Haute AFSS

"november five four foxtrot the precipitation has now come into ah indiana and there some scattered areas of rain and there maybe some embedded thunderstorms across the western quarter of the state of indiana extending from about fifty miles north of terre haute into the ah chicago area ah and then ah rain is just scattered around the chicago metropolitan area but it is a definitive band that runs from the southern quarter of lake michigan southward down through lafayette to about oh forty fifty north of terre haute ah generally moving slowly to the east light rain is being reported at chicago ohare and ah numerous other chicago stations including gary meigs dupage and ah palwaukee ceilings have started to come down ah in the areas of precipitation and broken to occasional overcast clouds are noted in the chicago area ranging from one thousand five hundred to two thousand five hundred feet which airport specifically in the chicago area do you anticipate going to"

1141:10 cdt N5054F

"ah lima lima ten aero (unintelligible)"

1141:22 cdt Terre Haute AFSS

"(unintelligible) five four foxtrot the closest airport i show is dupage then the dupage ah current weather has light rain ah winds one six zero at seven visibility seven with light rain scattered at one thousand four hundred broken at four thousand six hundred temperatures two three dew points two two stand by"

1141:53 cdt Terre Haute AFSS

"and november five november five four foxtrot like i mentioned ah a lot of the other stations in the chicago area are reporting rain ah visibility's are just ranging from seven to one zero miles in the rain ah the rain itself could have some heavier pockets of some rainshowers there is potentiality of seeing some convective activity also southern tip of lake michigan either has a very ah ah heavy rainshower or maybe a thunderstorm it's difficult to say right now ah and i do not see within in the current reports of anybody mention any a cumulonus cumulonimbus or towering que ahhh at a present ah what else can i answer for you"

1142:36 cdt N5054F

"roger that ah thank you sir five four fox"

1142:39 cdt Terre Haute AFSS

"november five four foxtrot current grissom altimeter is three zero one three"

1142:45 cdt N5054F

"ah roger thank you sir"

Full transcripts of the voice communications between the Terre Haute AFSS and the accident pilot are appended to this factual report.

According to FAA records, the pilot contacted the Kankakee AFSS at 1228 cdt to cancel his VFR flight plan and to obtain current weather near his destination airport:

1228:38 cdt N5054F

"service this is ah piper archer five zero five four fox over "

1228:52 cdt Kankakee AFSS

"november five zero five four foxtrot kankakee radio "

1228:57 cdt N5054F

"kankakee radio five four fox is thirty one miles southwest of joliet like tah close out our flight plan to lima lima ten please sir"

1229:06 cdt Kankakee AFSS

"would that be a v f r or an i f r flight plan sir "

1229:10 cdt N5054F

"ah be a v f r flight plan for five four ah fox "

1229:13 cdt Kankakee AFSS

"and your departure point"

1229:17 cdt N5054F

"the airport in cincinnati i think it's india sierra zulu"

1229:22 cdt Kankakee AFSS

"november five four foxtrot i'll make sure that v f r flight plan is closed did you need any thing else sir"

1229:28 cdt N5054F

"i got the current weather information ah dupage area what the ceilings and winds are"

1229:35 cdt Kankakee AFSS

"dupage had a special report at three after the hour wind one seven zero at one zero visibility one zero light rain a few clouds at niner hundred one thousand five hundred scattered ceiling two thousand three hundred broken temperature two three dew point two two in the remarks they indicate there was ah a tornado last hour and a funnel cloud which dissipated was about five to ten miles north ah dupage over"

1730:10 cdt N5054F

"ah roger that sir thank you for the information good day"

1230:13 cdt Kankakee AFSS

"and the altimeter is three zero zero five"

Full transcripts of the voice communications between the Kankakee AFSS and the accident pilot are appended to this factual report.

Witnesses stated that the airplane was flying northbound at an altitude described as being 50-60 feet above ground level (agl). The witnesses stated that the airplane then turned toward the east before they lost sight of the aircraft. The witnesses reported the airplane's engine was operating before they observed the turn toward the east.

A Kendall County Sheriff Deputy reported that there were heavy rain showers present when he was dispatched to the accident scene.

The NSTB investigator contacted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service, Romeoville, Illinois, requesting Doppler weather-radar plots of the accident area before and after the accident time. These plots revealed that an area of precipitation had moved through the accident location, before and after the reported time of the accident. The Doppler weather-radar plots are appended to this factual report.

Aircraft radar track data for period before and after the reported accident time was obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration. This aircraft radar track data was plotted on the NOAA weather-radar plots and indicated that the accident aircraft had encountered an area of convective activity prior to and about the reported accident time. The composite plots of the FAA aircraft radar track data and NOAA weather-radar charts are appended to this factual report.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, born June 1, 1952, was the holder of a private pilot certificate with privileges for single-engine land airplanes. FAA records indicate that the pilot's last aviation medical examination was performed on October 9, 1997. The pilot possessed a third-class medical with the limitation, "Must have available glasses for near vision."

According to the pilot's flight records, he had accumulated a total of 303.7 hours of flight time as of July 10, 1999. The pilot had flown a total of 21.0 hours in the accident type of airplane. The pilot had completed two phases of the Wings - Pilot Proficiency Award Program. The most recent phase was completed on April 10, 1999, and was awarded by the FAA Safety Program Manager of the DuPage Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The aircraft was a Piper PA-28-181, Archer II, serial number 28-7790083. The Piper PA-28-181 is a single-engine, low-wing monoplane of all metal construction, equipped with a fixed landing gear, and can accommodate a pilot and three passengers. The airplane was issued a Standard Airworthiness Certificate, by the FAA, on September 17, 1976. The airplane had logged a total-time of 1,732.70 hours at the time of the accident. The last annual inspection was completed on November 12, 1998.

The engine was a Textron Lycoming O-360-A4M, serial number L-23686-36A, and at the time of the accident had accumulated 3,108.90 total hours since new. The engine had accumulated 122.4 hours since factory overhaul, which was completed on October 21, 1998. The engine was installed, November 11, 1998, on N5054F during the last annual inspection of the aircraft.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A weather observation station, located at the Morris Municipal Airport (C09), 10.9 nautical miles from the accident site on 215-degree magnetic heading, reported the weather 10 minutes after the accident as:

Observation Time: 1255 cdt Wind: 270-degrees at 10 knots Gusting 15 knots Visibility: 1 3/4 statute miles Sky Condition: 900 Scattered 1,800 Broken 2,500 Overcast Temperature: 25-degrees centigrade Dew Point Temperature: 23-degrees centigrade Pressure: 30.06 inches of mercury

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

An examination of the wreckage was conducted on July 17 and 18, 1999.

The aircraft impacted a soybean field, near the intersection of Walker Road and Ridge Road outside of the Yorkville, Illinois, town boundary. A global positioning system (GPS) unit identified the accident location as:

41-degrees 34.421-minutes North Latitude 88-degrees 16.702-minutes West Longitude

The wreckage was distributed over an area that measured 430 feet by 150 feet. All airframe components were accounted for at the accident site.

A wreckage path, orientated on an east heading, originated from the initial impact crater to the location of the main wreckage. Broken glass, green in color, was found in the initial impact crater. The green glass was consistent with the color, quantity, and material used in airplane navigation lens light. The right stabilator tip, right wing, right wing-tip, right-main landing gear, left-lower engine cowling, baggage door, and upper engine cowling were found along propagation of the wreckage path.

The main wreckage consisted of the aircraft fuselage, left wing, and empennage. The aircraft engine, propeller still attached, was found, completely separated from the fuselage, along the right side of the main wreckage.

Reconstruction and evaluation of the main wreckage was conducted at an Illinois Department of Transportation facility, Yorkville, Illinois.

Examination of the aileron control cable circuit and associated hardware did not reveal any evidence of a preexisting jam or failure. Flight control cable continuity for the entire left aileron control circuit was established. The control continuity for the balance cable, the cable that links the right aileron to the left aileron, could not be established because of impact damage and fragmentation. All of the ends of the separations of the balance cable exhibited evidence of tensile overload. The control cable continuity for the right aileron could not be established because of impact damage and fragmentation. All of the ends of the separations of the aileron control cable circuits exhibited evidence consistent with tensile overload. The stops for both ailerons were examined; no evidence of severe repetitive strike marks or deformations was noted.

Examination of the stabilator control cable circuit and associated hardware did not reveal any evidence of a preexisting jam or failure. Flight control cable continuity for the stabilator was established from the control surfaces to the cockpit controls. The stops for the stabilator were examined; no evidence of severe repetitive strike marks or deformations was noted.

Examination of the stabilator trim control cable circuit and associated hardware did not reveal any evidence of a preexisting jam or failure. Control cable circuitry for the stabilator trim was established from the control surfaces to the cockpit area.

Examination of the rudder control cable circuit and associated hardware did not reveal any evidence of a preexisting jam or failure. Flight control cable continuity for the rudder was established from the control surfaces to the cockpit controls. The stops for the rudder were examined; no evidence of severe repetitive strike marks or deformations was noted.

The flap position was determined to be in the fully retracted position.

Both of the fuel tanks were compromised during the impact sequence. A fuel receipt was located at the departure airport that indicated that the airplane had been fueled with 28-gallons of 100 Low-Lead aviation fuel prior to the accident flight.

No anomalies, relative to the airframe or its systems, were found to be associated with a preexisting condition.

Engine continuity was established throughout the engine and its accessories by rotating the engine at the propeller flange. The left magneto provided spark on all leads when rotated by hand. The right magneto had a broken input shaft and continuity could not be established. The upper spark plug leads were a light gray color. The propeller blades exhibited S-shape bending, leading edge gouges, tip curling, and chordwise scratching of the propeller face. The vacuum pump was removed, disassembled, and no anomalies were detected.

No anomalies, relative to the engine or its accessories, were found to be associated with a preexisting condition.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Kane County Government Center, Geneva, Illinois, on July 18, 1999.

A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The toxicology report indicated the following results:

* No Carbon Monoxide detected in Blood * No Cyanide detected in Blood * No Ethanol detected in Urine * 124 (ug/ml, ug/g) Salicylate detected in Urine

Salicylate is part of a group of chemical substances with anti-inflammatory properties, which includes aspirin, choline salicyl

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