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N22038 accident description

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Tail numberN22038
Accident dateDecember 15, 1998
Aircraft typeCessna 150H
LocationMarksville, LA
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On December 15, 1998, approximately 1732 central standard time, a Cessna 150H airplane, N22038, impacted terrain during landing at the Marksville Municipal Airport near Marksville, Louisiana. The private pilot and his passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane, which was registered to and operated by the pilot, was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal cross-country flight. The flight originated from Zapata, Texas, approximately 0900, and refueling stops were made at the Jackson County Airport near Edna, Texas, and the Leesville Municipal Airport near Leesville, Louisiana. The airplane departed Leesville at 1640.

A flight log, which was recovered from the airplane and examined by the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), listed the Marksville Municipal Airport as one of the waypoints for a cross-country flight from the Zapata County Airport to the Franklin County Airport near Louisburg, North Carolina. The planned route of flight from Zapata to Louisburg passed through the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. The waypoint listed immediately prior to Marksville in the flight log was the Beaureguard Parish Airport near De Ridder, Louisiana.

Approximately 0615 on the morning of the accident, the pilot telephoned the Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) in San Angelo, Texas, and requested a weather briefing for a flight from "Zapata, Texas, to Beaureguard, Alabama." Review of a voice tape provided by the FAA revealed that when questioned by the briefer as to where Beaureguard, Alabama, was located, the pilot stated that he was "not sure" and that his charts were "out at the plane right now." In response to further questioning by the briefer, the pilot stated that Beaureguard was in the "southern part" of Alabama, "just north of Mobile." The briefer then provided the pilot with a weather briefing for a flight from Zapata to Mobile. During the briefing, the pilot was not given an active Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), which stated that the Marksville Municipal Airport was closed, since the route of flight he provided to the briefer did not pass over, or stop at, Marksville.

At 1732, a witness observed the airplane on a "normal landing approach" to runway 22 at Marksville. The witness, who was aware that the airport was closed for reconstruction of the runway, continued to watch the airplane until it disappeared from view behind a tree line. "About 2 seconds" later, he "saw the tail section go up into the air." He proceeded to the accident site and "found the aircraft on top of a large mound of dirt, upside down, heading east." The witness stated that when the accident occurred, "it was getting dark, however there was enough light for me to see the tail go up in the air."


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land airplane rating. He held a third class medical certificate dated August 4, 1997, with no limitations. The pilot's logbook, which was recovered from the airplane and examined by the NTSB IIC, indicated that the pilot had accumulated a total of 1,011 hours of flight time. An endorsement in the logbook stated that the pilot completed a biennial flight review in the accident airplane on September 16, 1998.


The airframe logbook for the 1967 model Cessna 150H airplane, S/N 15068024, was not located during the investigation. The engine logbook, which was recovered from the airplane and examined by the NTSB IIC, indicated that the Continental O-200-A engine, S/N 67984-7-A, received an "annual" inspection on August 31, 1998, at a recording tachometer time of 4,878 hours. As of that date, the engine had accumulated 1,413 hours since the last major overhaul. Review of the available maintenance records revealed no evidence of any uncorrected maintenance discrepancies.


According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, on the day of the accident, the sun set in Marksville, Louisiana, at 1708 and civil twilight ended at 1734.

At 1653, the reported weather conditions at Esler Regional Airport near Alexandria, Louisiana, located 21 nautical miles northwest of the accident site, were wind calm, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 11 degrees C, dewpoint 4 degrees C, and altimeter setting 30.34 inches of mercury.


Marksville Municipal Airport is owned and operated by the city of Marksville. The airport has one paved runway, runway 4/22, which at the time of the accident, was undergoing reconstruction. Review of FAA records revealed that there was an active NOTAM (#10/029) issued on October 12, 1998, stating that the Marksville Municipal Airport was closed. The airport manger reported (and the accident witness confirmed) that the runway lights and the rotating beacon were turned off.

Examination of the airport by the IIC revealed that the old asphalt runway surface had been removed and a sand base applied. Truckloads of dirt were then dumped on the runway, forming a 7 to 10-foot high dirt bank extending along the runway centerline from a point about 1,000 feet southwest of the runway 22 threshold to the southwest end of the runway. Additionally, a few truckloads of dirt had been dumped at the threshold of runway 22. There was an "X" made of yellow plastic sheets located in the grassy overrun area northeast of the threshold of runway 22.


The airplane was located approximately 1,038 feet from the threshold of runway 22, lying inverted atop the dirt bank. Ground scars corresponding to the airplane's nose and main landing gears were found on the northeast face of the dirt bank. The nose landing gear separated and was found atop the dirt bank approximately 5 feet southwest of the ground scars. The airplane was a further 21 feet southwest of the nose gear.

Both wings and the empennage remained attached to the fuselage. The forward section of the fuselage was crushed aft and upward. Control continuity was established from the elevators and rudder to the aft cabin floor bulkhead. Aileron control continuity was established from the control surfaces to the base of the control yoke. The flap actuator extension measured 2.5 inches, which, according to the Cessna representative, corresponded to a flap extension of 10 degrees. The elevator trim tab was found in the neutral position.

The engine remained attached to the airframe, and the propeller and all engine accessories remained attached to the engine. Continuity was confirmed to all cylinders and to the accessory drive gears by manually rotating the propeller. During rotation, thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders, and all leads on both magnetos sparked except one, which was damaged near the magneto case. The carburetor was disassembled, and the float and needle valve were found attached and free to move. Fuel was present in the carburetor bowl. One of the propeller blades was bent aft approximately 30 degrees, and the other blade appeared to be undamaged.


An autopsy of the pilot was performed at the Earl K. Long Hospital Morgue in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Toxicological tests performed by the FAA's Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and drugs.


The airplane was released to the airport manager at the conclusion of the on scene investigation on December 16, 1998.

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