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N7565F accident description

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Tail numberN7565F
Accident dateAugust 13, 1994
Aircraft typeChampion 7KCAB
LocationHumphrey, NE
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 13, 1994, about 1730 central daylight time, a Champion (Citabria) 7KCAB airplane, N7565F, was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire when it collided with terrain approximately 2 and 1/2 miles southwest of Humphrey, Nebraska. The private pilot and sole passenger aboard were fatally injured. The local pleasure flight operated in visual meteorological conditions without flight plan. The flight departed Norfolk, Nebraska, about 1645.

The crash site was located in a soybean field to the rear (south) of a farm house owned by a relative of the passenger in the airplane. The relative reported he heard the airplane pass low over his house and heard a distinct change in the engine sound. He characterized the engine sound as "different and louder than an automobile V-8 or V-6 engine." He said that 2 or 3 seconds after he heard the sound he was looking out the kitchen window and saw the airplane just before it struck the ground in a nose down, vertical attitude. He saw no sign of fire until a few seconds after impact. The relative ran out of the house towards the wreckage and was looking for possible survivors outside the airplane. He was unable to reach the wreckage due to the intensity of the fire. At the time of the accident, the relative said that he was unaware that his brother-in-law was a passenger in the airplane. Another witness, the owner of a neighboring farm located approximately 1/2 mile south of the accident site also heard the airplane engine "cut out" once, resume power, then cut out again, closely followed by the sound of the impact. This witness said he did not see the airplane anytime before or after it crashed.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The on-site investigation began at 1415 on August 14. The airplane was found lying in a level soybean field approximately 181 feet south of a hog yard located to the rear (south) of the Wessel Residence. The terrain surrounding the accident site is principally comprised of soybean and corn fields. All major airframe components and the engine were in the immediate vicinity of the accident site. The airplane's propeller had separated from the engine and was found partially buried in soft soil about 18 feet from the center section of the wreckage. The magnetic direction from the propeller to the wreckage was 305 degrees. The propeller's attachment bolts to the engine flange were found in the propeller's mounting holes. The bolts were stretched and were smaller in diameter at the point where they normally would mate with the engine flange. The propeller's face exhibited some chordwise scratching.

Adjacent to, and expanding symmetrically from where the propeller was found, was an area of denuded soybean crop and disturbed earth. The area of disturbance was similar in shape and dimension to the airplane's lengthwise wing span. The lateral axis of the outline was oriented approximately east-west.

The airplane structure was extensively fire damaged. The external fabric covering was completely burned away. The center section of the fuselage was mostly consumed by fire. No evidence of a preimpact fire was discovered.

Flight control continuity for the ailerons, rudder and elevator was established from the individual flight control to the applicable cockpit control.

The engine was mostly separated from the airframe. The engine was examined and field stripped at the site. No preimpact mechanical anomalies were discovered. The magnetos were not functionally tested due to fire and impact damage.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

On August 15, an autopsy was performed on the pilot by Dr. Matthias I. Okoye, of Pathology Medical Services, Lincoln, Nebraska. The cause of death was listed as massive blunt trauma. No evidence of a preexisting disease was discovered.

A toxicological report issued by the FAA was positive for ethanol and acetaldehyde in the blood. No ethanol was found in the urine sample provided. Conversation with the manager of the FAA's toxicology lab revealed that the amount of ethanol detected was very low, and most likely attributable to postmortem production. FIRE

There was a localized, postcrash fire. Fire damage was limited to the airplane and the soybean crop in the immediate area of the crash.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to the operator, Mid Plains Aviation, on August 14.

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