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N111BF accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Monument, CO
39.091659°N, 104.872758°W

Tail number N111BF
Accident date 15 Jun 1996
Aircraft type Piper PA-18-150
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On June 15, 1996, approximately 0830 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-18-150, N111BF, impacted terrain on the 355 degree radial, 8.1 miles from the FALCON VORTAC, northeast of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The airline transport pilot occupant received fatal injuries and the aircraft was destroyed. The flight was operating under Title 14 CFR Part 91 at the time and no flight plan was filed. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for this business flight which departed Meadow Lake Airport at 0800.

According to witness information, the pilot was doing a weather check prior to towing a glider from Meadow Lake Airport to Kelly Air Park (Black Forest Glider Park). Weather at the accident site was described by witnesses as low overcast with rain and wind.

The accident site was 330 degrees magnetic and 8 miles from Meadow Lake Airport which is 6,847 feet above mean sea level (msl). The accident site was a cultivated field in rolling hills approximately 7,700 feet msl with a farm house located about 600 feet to the southwest.


The pilot held an airline transport certificate with ratings in single and multiengine land, a type rating in the Embraer EMB-110, and commercial glider privileges. According to his logbook he had 11,962 hours of flight time, 228 hours in make and model, with 25 hours in the last 30 days in this aircraft. His last recorded flight in this aircraft prior to the accident flight was 0.6 hours on June 10, 1996. It was a glider tow flight. His logbook provided information that he had 1,439 hours of actual instrument experience, 123 hours of simulated (hooded) instrument experience. His last recorded instrument time was 1.0 hours of actual instrument time on October 22, 1995, in a PA-18-181, N2127P.

The pilot held a first class medical certificate dated November 18, 1994. There were no limitations or waivers on the certificate.

A biennial flight review was entered in the pilot's log; however, it does not indicate the type aircraft in which the review was conducted.


The PA-18-150 is a tandem, high wing, fixed gear, tail wheel equipped aircraft normally powered by a 150 horsepower Lycoming O-320 normally aspirated engine. This aircraft was equipped with a Lycoming VO-360-A1A in November of 1985. According to the Lycoming technical representative to the investigation, this model engine is normally used in helicopter applications and this engine, serial number L-228-45, was built for the Brantly Corporation. Aircraft records provided information that an FAA Form 337 had been generated converting the engine to a O-360-C2A on October 31, 1986.

According to the aircraft owners, the aircraft was equipped with a standard PA-18 instrument group consisting of the following instruments: altimeter, wet compass, airspeed indicator, oil temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge, and tachometer.


The nearest weather recording facility to the accident site was located at Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, 16 miles south of the accident site at an elevation of 6,184 feet. At the time of the accident, this facility was reporting broken clouds at 9,000 feet, 10 miles visibility, a temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit, a dew point of 54 degrees Fahrenheit, winds from 320 degrees magnetic at 10 knots, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury.

According to local residents in the area of the accident, and the responding emergency crew, weather at the accident site was low overcast skies with rain and wind from the northwest. These people characterized the base of the clouds as being variable and below 500 feet above the ground, and said the visibility was also variable with rain showers and generally less than one quarter mile.


The accident site was an open cultivated field with an upslope to the north. A farm house was located approximately 600 feet to the southwest.

Witness marks consisted of a crater approximately one foot in depth and 3 feet in diameter. A scar extended out both sides of the crater for a distance of approximately 17 feet and on the east side of the crater, a 'V' shaped scar extended out approximately 8 feet. A portion of the engine cowl was embedded in the crater. The crater and scars were oriented northwest to southeast.

The aircraft was located approximately 60 feet to the southwest of the crater/scar area and no ground marks were found between the crater/scar and aircraft location.

Engine (external inspection)

The engine remained partially attached to its mounts with the firewall wrapped over the accessory section. All cylinders were marked as chrome units and all push rods and housing were in place with units to the number one cylinder crushed. The rocker box covers were in place and crushed. The top spark plugs were all in place with the numbers one and two leads separated at the plugs. The ring gear was separated from the housing. The starter was separated and damaged as was the generator. Number one intake tube and exhaust stack were separated from the cylinder and the bottom of number one cylinder was crushed. Cylinder number three exhaust stack was partially separated from the cylinder and was bent and twisted. Number three intake tube was attached but crushed. The number one spark plug was completely separated from the cylinder and the number three bottom spark plug was in place with the lead separated. The number one oil return line was in place but crushed and the number three oil return line was separated from the cylinder. Cylinder number two intake tube was attached to the cylinder but separated at the sump. Number four intake tube was in place and dented and numbers two and four exhaust stacks were in place and crushed. Number two oil return line fitting was attached at the cylinder and the line was separated and the number four oil return line was in place and dented. The cylinder number two and four bottom spark plugs were in place with the leads attached. The exhaust cross over tubes were crushed against the front of the sump and the oil cooler was separated from its mount and remained attached to the engine by hoses. The left magneto was attached to the mount but the housing was crushed and the right magneto remained attached to the mount with all the wires having separated at the cap. The oil pressure housing was in place and undamaged. Both oil cooler hoses were attached to the rear case. The carburetor was separated from it's mounting and remained attached by linkage and the carburetor heat box was attached to the carburetor and crushed against it. The exhaust gas temperature probe was in place in the number four exhaust stack and was undamaged.

Engine (internal inspection)

1. After removing the propeller, rocker box covers, and top spark plugs numbers two, three, and four the crank shaft was rotated and continuity through the engine was confirmed. By thumb compression and rotation of the crankshaft, all cylinders exhibited compression and suction. 2. The left magneto impulse coupling was checked and operated normally. 3. The right magneto was checked and produced spark at all leads. 4. The oil pressure screen was removed and found to be clean with the nut on the oil bypass valve secured. 5. The remaining spark plugs were removed and inspected. They were slightly oval and exhibited slight dark carbon coating.

The engine identity and components are as follows:

Data plate - VO-360-A1A, S/N - L-228-45, case S/N - L-228-45 Magnetos - Slick, left P/N 4373, S/N - 93040084 right P/N 4370, S/N 93020141 Carburetor - Marvel Schebler MA-4-5, P/N 10-3878, S/N - G-49-7404 data plate stamped MF V A1 Starter - Prestolite, P/N smeared, S/N - MZ4222 Generator - Delco Remy, P/N - 1101899, S/N - A3748 Propeller - Sensenich, P/N 76EM8-0-52, S/N18655K Spark plugs - Champion REM-40E

Left Wing

The left wing sustained chordwise crushing along the full span and remained attached to the fuselage. The fuel tank was ruptured. The aileron was attached and hinge points were secure and the aileron. Balance cables were secure to the bellcrank and continuity was established.

The flap was in place and the attach fittings were secure. Flap position at impact could not be established due to impact damage.

The lift strut attach fittings were in place and secure at both the wing and fuselage attach points. Heavy lift strut fork bolts were installed.

Right Wing

The right wing remained attached at the fuselage and exhibited chordwise crushing along the full span. The fuel tank was ruptured. The aileron was attached and the hinge points were secure. The aileron and balance cables were secure to the bellcrank and continuity as established.

The flap was attached and the fittings were secure. Flap position at impact could not be establish due to impact damage.

The lift strut fittings were in place and secure at the fuselage and wing attach points. Heavy lift strut fork bolts were installed.


The fuselage was crushed longitudinally from forward towards aft. The aft fuselage was folded forward leaving the empennage folded over the forward fuselage.

According to emergency response personnel, the pilot was found in the rear seat with his shoulder harness and seat belt secured.

Prior to the arrival of either the Safety Board or FAA, and according to emergency response personnel, the pilot's family removed the flight instruments and magneto switch from the aircraft. As such the readings are unknown.

Control continuity was established throughout the aircraft, the fuel selector was on the left tank, and the carburetor heat was in the off position.


The vertical stabilizer and rudder were partially crushed. The rudder hinge points were in place and secure. Rudder control cables and attach fittings were in place and continuity was established.

The horizontal stabilizer and elevators were partially crushed. The elevator hinge points were in place and secure. Elevator control cables and attach fittings were in place and continuity was established. The elevator trim jack screw measured 2.0 inches and showed 7 threads. According to information supplied by Piper Aircraft, this indicates the elevator trim was in the neutral position.


An autopsy was performed by the El Paso County Medical Examiner, Colorado Springs, Colorado. They also performed toxicology as did the Civil Aeronautical Medical Institute, Oklahoma city, Oklahoma. Both toxicological tests were negative for alcohol and substances of abuse.


According to the data plate, the engine installed was not the correct engine for this application unless it had been rebuilt and an FAA Form 337 executed. In reviewing the paperwork on the aircraft, a form 337 dated October 31, 1986, signed by one William Jensen (A/P 2096198) was found. This form documents the conversion of the engine from a VO-360-AA to a O-360-C2A. However, the form was not processed by the FAA nor was a change entered in the aircraft registry in Oklahoma City, as required by regulations.


The wreckage was released to the owner's representative, Mr. Charles Carstensen, Carstensen Company, on June 19, 1996. No parts were retained.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.