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N12028 accident description

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Tail numberN12028
Accident dateMay 29, 1999
Aircraft typeChampion 7ECA
LocationComstock, WI
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 29, 1999, at 0945 central daylight time (cdt), a Champion 7ECA, N12028, operated by a private pilot, was destroyed when it departed controlled flight and subsequently impacted the terrain. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. A flight plan was not on file. The pilot was fatally injured. The local flight originated from the pilot's private airstrip, 3 miles northwest of Comstock, Wisconsin, at 0940 cdt.

A witness heard the airplane take off from the pilot's private field, which was located approximately 1/2 mile south of the witness' home. The witness said he saw the airplane approach from the east and fly over his house. As the airplane flew over, the witness observed the airplane rocking its wings. The witness said that he waved back to the pilot. The witness lost sight of the airplane as it went over the trees. The witness said he then heard the airplane's engine "waver as if he was rocking his wings, and then bang." The witness immediately went to the accident site. The witness said that the airplane was flying low that day, "500 feet [above the ground] was optimistic to me."

The pilot's wife was visiting her friend at the farm on which the airplane crashed. She watched the airplane fly over. She said that her husband tipped his wing once as he flew over. She lost sight of the airplane when it flew over her friend's barn. The pilot's wife said that the airplane's engine sounded good. After she lost sight of the airplane, the pilot's wife said that there was a "few seconds, 3, 5, or 10 seconds of silence, then I heard the crash." The pilot's wife said that there were no unusual engine sounds which preceded the silence.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with single-engine land rating. According to the pilot's logbook, recovered from the airplane, the pilot had 996.9 total flight hours in single- engine airplanes. Additional logbooks recovered from the pilot's estate revealed that the pilot had 845.9 hours in the accident airplane.

The pilot had successfully completed a biennial flight review on October 16, 1997.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was owned by the pilot and used for pleasure and for game spotting.

The airplane underwent an annual inspection on October 11, 1998. The total airframe time recorded at the annual inspection was 2,614.6. The tachometer time recorded at the annual inspection was 2,740.4. The time taken from the tachometer at the accident site was 2,827.43.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The NTSB on-scene investigation began on May 29, 1999, at 1800 cdt.

The airplane was found resting upright in a cow pasture, 1/2 mile north of 20th Avenue, an east-west running dirt road. The airplane's fuselage was oriented on a 003 degree magnetic heading. The airplane main wreckage included all of its structure and components, save the left main tire.

An east-west oriented ground scar was located 41 inches from the airplane's main wreckage on a 357 degree magnetic heading. The ground scar was 61 inches long and 12 inches at its widest point, near the center. The ground scar was 11 inches at its deepest point, also near the center. A mound of turf was pushed up on the north side of the ground scar at the center. A 19 inch long, 13 inch wide, 8 inch deep chunk of turf was resting at the southeast end of the ground scar. A 33 foot long, 6 inch wide east-west running impression was observed in the turf, immediately north of the ground scar and airplane main wreckage. A 9 foot long, 9 foot wide area of dead grass was observed just beneath the area where the airplane's inboard right wing came to rest.

The airplane's fuselage rested predominantly on it's right side and was oriented along a 250 degree magnetic heading. The airplane's engine, engine mounts and firewall were twisted 30 degrees counter-clockwise, and bent downward and left 28 degrees from the longitudinal axis. The propeller remained attached at the flange, and showed torsional bending, chordwise scratches, and leading edge nicks. The spinner was crushed inward and twisted counter-clockwise, conforming to the propeller hub, when observed nose on. The airplane's upper cowling was crushed inward just behind the propeller and broken open. The lower cowling was separated and broken into several pieces. The main landing gear struts remained intact. The left wheel was broken off at the axle. The left main tire was found resting 93 feet southeast of the main wreckage on a 131 degree magnetic heading. The left main tire showed heavy turf scratches and dirt rubs on a one-fourth section of the tread.

Several pieces of plexiglass, personal effects, fabric, the airplane's glove box, and the lower portion of the door rested south and west of the main wreckage within a 10 foot radius.

The airplane's front cockpit was crushed upward and aft. The front windscreen was broken out and shattered. The upper portion of the instrument panel was broken rearward. Most of the airplane's engine and flight instruments were broken out. The lower instrument panel was bent upward and forward. The front cabin floor was crushed upward 30 degrees into the front pilot seat. The right side of the forward cockpit was broken outward. The right side windows and door were broken outward. The right side forward cockpit wall frame was bent outward. The fabric in this area was torn and twisted rearward. The top cockpit plexiglass was broken out and shattered. The top cockpit fabric was torn rearward and twisted right. The left side of the fuselage and left cockpit wall were bent inward and buckled. The rear cockpit was intact.

The airplane's right wing remained attached to the fuselage at the aft carry-through spar, at the upper aft cockpit. The wing was twisted upward 45 degrees and bent aft from the cockpit. The leading edge was crushed aft and downward along the wing's entire span. Heavy turf scrapes and embedded grass were observed along the span of the wing's leading edge. The outboard 58 inches of the right wing, from mid-span to, and including the wing tip, was bent upward and twisted aft approximately 135 degrees. The right wing tip was broken open longitudinally just beneath the position light. The right forward wing strut remained attached at the wing and fuselage attach points. It was bent slightly downward at mid-span. The right aft wing strut also remained attached to the wing and fuselage. It was bent down significantly downward and twisted rearward. The right aileron was bent upward 36 inches inboard of the aileron's outboard edge. Flight control continuity to the right aileron was confirmed.

The leading edge of the airplane's left wing was crushed inward along its entire span. Heavy turf scrapes and embedded grass were observed along the span of the wing's leading edge. The outboard 19 inches of the left wing was broken off. The upper and lower wing fabric at the fracture was torn chordwise, exposing the wing spars. The front corner leading edge of the left wing tip showed chordwise-running scratches, turf rub marks, and embedded dirt and grass. The outer 23 inches of the forward and aft wing spars were broken upward. The upper and lower wing fabric, from the wing root running outward to the fracture, showed heavy bucking and wrinkles running 45 degree outward and aft. The left wing forward and aft struts remained attached at their wing and fuselage attach points. Both struts were bend downward. The left aileron was bent downward 29 degrees, approximately 39 inches outboard of the aileron's inboard edge. Flight control continuity to the left aileron was confirmed.

The airplane's fuselage, aft of the rear cockpit, was twisted clockwise 10 degrees. The left side of the fuselage, immediately aft of the rear cockpit, was bent inward. The right side of the aft fuselage showed wrinkles in the fabric running 45 degrees upward and aft, starting at the right rear cockpit, and paint chipping. The left and right horizontal stabilizers, elevator, vertical stabilizer, rudder, and tailwheel showed no damage. Flight control continuity to the elevator and rudder were confirmed.

Examination of the engine, engine controls, and other airplane systems revealed no anomalies.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of the pilot was conducted by the Barron County Medical Examiner on May 30, 1999, at Sacred Heart Hospital, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The results of FAA toxicology testing of specimens from the pilot revealed the following volatile concentrations:

0.002 (ug/ml, ug/g) Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid detected in blood. 0.077 (ug/ml, ug/g) Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid detected in urine.

According to the manager of the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid is a metabolite of marijuana. The low levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid detected in the blood and urine samples indicate use beyond two hours.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A party to the investigation was the Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The aircraft wreckage was released and returned to Snively Towing Company, Barron, Wisconsin.

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