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N387MA accident description

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Tail numberN387MA
Accident dateJune 17, 1998
Aircraft typeCessna 172R
LocationGreenfield, IN
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On June 17, 1998, at 1358 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172R, N387MA, received substantial damage while landing on runway 25 (5,500'x100') at the Mount Comfort Airport, Greenfield, Indiana. The pilot of the airplane became incapacitated during the flight and the passenger, who was not a pilot, landed the airplane. The pilot was pronounced dead following the landing and the passenger was not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions. The flight originated from Muncie, Indiana, at 1312 eastern standard time.

The passenger, an 81-year old non-pilot, reported that he and the pilot departed Metro Airport, around 1030 est and flew to Muncie, Indiana, where they had lunch. He stated that approximately five minutes after takeoff from Muncie on the way back to the Metro Airport, the pilot became incapacitated. The passenger stated that when the pilot passed out he must have contacted the control yoke as the airplane entered a descent. He stated he recalled they flew to Muncie at an altitude of 2,200 feet so he pulled back on the control yoke until the airplane reached 2,200 feet. He stated that when then pilot did not respond to him, he pulled the headset off the pilot, picked up the microphone and began transmitting over the radio that he needed help. He stated that he received a response from one pilot followed shortly thereafter by a response from another pilot. This second pilot was a commercial pilot flying a PA-28R, N9476N. The passenger reported that once hearing from the pilot of N9476N, he began to "feel at ease."

The passenger stated the pilot of N9476N had him dial 7700 in the transponder and shortly thereafter N9476N flew to his location. The passenger stated the pilot of N9476N told him the basics of how to control the airplane. He then followed N9476N to the Mount Comfort Airport. He stated the pilot of N9476N showed him the runway and had him fly over it about 3 times, each time at a lower altitude. The passenger stated that on the 4th pass the pilot of N9476N talked him through landing the airplane. He stated he pulled the throttle to idle during the landing, but the airplane ballooned. He stated he instinctively pushed forward on the control yoke at which time the nose of the airplane hit hard, collapsing the nose gear. The airplane veered off the side of the runway where it came to rest.

The pilot of N9476N reported he tuned in unicom frequency 123.0 and heard someone saying they were lost. He reported he quickly discovered the situation involved more than a lost pilot. He instructed the passenger in N387MA to put 7700 in the transponder. He then switched frequencies to Indianapolis Approach and explained the situation. Indianapolis Approach gave the pilot the location of N387MA. He informed Indianapolis Approach that he was going to direct N387MA to the Mount Comfort Airport since it was away from the city and it had a long runway. The pilot requested that they have emergency equipment waiting at the airport. The pilot of N9476N stated he located N387MA almost immediately. He stated he had the passenger make a series of gentle climbs, turns, and descents to ascertain whether or not he could control the airplane. After this he had the passenger follow him to the Mount Comfort Airport where they made several passes over the runway. He stated that following the last pass they went out about six miles from the airport and he had the passenger reduce the throttle slightly and lower the flaps to 10 degrees. He talked the passenger through the approach descent in 100 foot increments.

He stated that at an altitude of about 20 feet above the runway he instructed the passenger to pull the throttle all the way out and to hold back on the yoke. He stated the airplane touched down about 700 feet from the approach end of the runway and on the centerline. The airplane appeared to balloon then the nose gear contacted the runway at which time it collapsed and the airplane veered off the side of the runway.

The pilot of N387MA was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy was performed on the pilot of N387MA by the Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, on June 18, 1998. The autopsy report listed the cause of death as Atherosclerotic Heart Disease.

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