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N98003 accident description

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Tail numberN98003
Accident dateDecember 02, 1995
Aircraft typeCessna 172P
LocationHallett, OK
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 2, 1995, at 0141 central standard time, a Cessna 172P, N98003, was destroyed upon impact with static wires near Hallett, Oklahoma. The flight instructor, the commercial pilot rated student, and the passenger were fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to Christiansen Aviation, Inc. and was being operated by Spartan School of Aeronautics of Tulsa, Oklahoma, under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from Stillwater Municipal Airport near Stillwater, Oklahoma, at 0120, with Tulsa, Oklahoma, as its intended destination. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the night cross country dual instructional flight for which a flight plan was not filed.

The first leg of the night cross training flight began with the filing of a VFR flight plan with McAlester AFSS at approximately 2000 on the evening of December 1, 1995. The flight plan was opened with McAlester AFSS at 2035 and the airplane proceeded from Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport (commonly known by the old name of Riverside Airport) to Stillwater Municipal Airport. At approximately 2105, the flight instructor called McAlester AFSS and closed their flight plan. Approximately 15 minutes later the airplane was on the ground and the fuel tanks were immediately topped off.

The second leg of the flight began at approximately 0120 on December 2, 1995 with no flight plan filed. The first radar contact with the accident aircraft was due east of Stillwater Municipal Airport at 0125 at 2,600 feet MSL which is approximately 1,600 feet above the ground. Approximately two minutes later the aircraft leveled off at 3,500 feet MSL and continued eastbound for 12 to 13 minutes. For the last 6 minutes of this time period, the aircraft was flying parallel to and within 1/2 mile to the south of the Cimarron Turnpike.

The Cimarron Turnpike is a 4 lane white cement highway with a 10 foot wide grass strip separating the east and westbound lanes. The vehicle traffic volume in the eastbound lanes at that time of night would space the surface vehicles at an estimated 5 to 8 miles apart (see enclosed documentation). The moon on December 2, 1995 was approximately 85% full which contributed to making a bright clear night.

ATC radar data showed that, at 0138:20, the aircraft made at left turn northbound and, as it crossed over the Cimarron Turnpike, began to descend. The aircraft's turn continued until a westbound heading was established. The last radar contact was made at 0140:04 and the airplane had descended to 1,800 feet MSL or approximately 800 feet above the ground.

Witnesses in an automobile driving east on the Cimarron Turnpike during this time period "noticed a bright, single light practically directly behind" them. The driver of the car "wondered if the light may have been a motorcycle with it's bright light on." Later, after she had time to think about the events, she decided that it was not a motorcycle because "1) it was too large and too bright, and 2) it was placed too high off the ground."

The above mentioned witnesses next observed "a large fire ball rising in the air 100 to 200 yards behind" them. The witnesses turned their car around and drove to the accident scene to discover that an airplane was on fire. The witnesses reported that they stood near the burning airplane "for probably 5 minutes before anyone else appeared." The witnesses further reported that they believed the bright light they saw earlier "could have been the airplane's landing lights behind us."

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

A 7/16 inch stainless steel static wire, sixty-four feet off of the ground, was found separated approximately 132 feet from the accident site. The north end of the wire exhibited black and reddish brown paint transfers. The south end of the wire was examined later, after the power company completed repairs. The south end also exhibited black and reddish brown paint transfers. The power company noted that a power interruption occurred at 0141:25 on the day of the accident.

The aircraft impacted on the eastbound lanes of the Cimarron Turnpike. Ground scars were noted 3 feet north of the turnpike centerline and parallel to it for a 162 feet. The airplane came to rest on a measured magnetic heading of 360 degrees at mile marker 52.9.

All primary and secondary controls were accounted for in the wreckage. According to the aircraft recovery personnel, the control cables were cut in the salvage operation. Control cable continuity was established to all flight surfaces from the cut cable ends. The left outboard wing section exhibited aft, downward crushing, and the right wing leading edge exhibited symmetrical aft crushing.

Examination of the engine revealed no anomalies which could have affected it's performance. Twenty inches were melted from one propeller blade and the other exhibited jagged leading edge damage, chordwise scoring, and "S" twisting. The cabin environment was consumed by the post crash fire.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Autopsies and toxicological tests were ordered and performed on both pilots. The autopsies were performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner at Tulsa, Oklahoma, on December 27, 1995.

ADDITIONAL DATA

The airplane was released to the owner's representative.

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