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N55114 accident description

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Crash location 39.716670°N, 103.716670°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Byers, CO
39.711371°N, 104.227736°W
27.2 miles away

Tail number N55114
Accident date 29 May 1995
Aircraft type Piper 28(AF) Piper PA-28-180(NTSB)
Additional details: White/Red/Brown

NTSB description


On May 29, 1995, at 2115 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-28- 180, N55114, was destroyed upon impact with the ground following a loss of control near Byers, Colorado. The non-instrument rated private pilot and his three passengers were fatally injured. The flight departed Alliance, Nebraska. Instrument meteorological condition prevailed throughout the area for the personal night cross country flight for which no flight plan was filed.

The pilot originated his trip from Linton, North Dakota, at 1730. Prior to his departure, the pilot received a telephonic weather briefing at 1029 from the Grand Forks AFSS. The pilot was briefed on the forecasted conditions for his destination and told that VFR was not recommended. The airplane made two scheduled refueling stops on the return trip to the Meadow Lake Airport, near Falcon, Colorado.

The first refueling stop was made at 1750 at the Mobridge Municipal Airport, near Mobridge, South Dakota, which is approximately 40 miles from the point of departure. The airport manager stated that the airplane was topped off with 48.2 gallons of 100LL fuel (Aircraft fuel capacity is 48.0 gallons). The airport manager further stated that the airport at Linton, North Dakota, was unattended and did not have any refueling services.

The second stop was made at 1915 at the Alliance Airport, near Alliance, Nebraska. The airplane was again topped off with 30 gallons of 100LL fuel and the pilot updated his weather.

The weather for Colorado Springs at 1910 (0110Z) was reported by Pan Am Systems as a measured ceiling of 400 foot broken, with visibility of 2 1/2 miles in light rain and fog, and a weather pictorial of the area showed low ceilings and restricted visibilities prevailed for his intended route of flight beyond Akron, Colorado. The pilot told the FBO manager that he only intended to go as far as Akron, and wait for the weather conditions to improve. The airplane departed at approximately 2000. The wreckage was located 40 nautical miles beyond Akron, on the Akron VOR 208 degree radial. There were no reported eyewitnesses to the accident.


The private pilot earned his private certificate on November 6, 1993. He had accumulated a total of 4 hours of simulated instrument time.


The airplane was equipped for flights in IMC. An estimate of the weight of the airplane at the time of the accident places the airplane within its limits. Examination of the airplane and engine at the accident site did not disclose any mechanical problems. A review of the airframe and engine records by the FAA inspector did not reveal any anomalies or uncorrected maintenance defects prior to the flight.


IFR conditions were forecasted and present on the east side of the Rocky Mountains from Pueblo to Denver due to upslope conditions caused by a high pressure area in southwestern Nebraska. The weather for Colorado Springs at 2056 was reported as a measured ceiling of 400 foot overcast, with 3 miles in fog. Local residents in the vicinity of the accident reported ceilings as low as 200 feet and visibilities below 2 miles in fog and light drizzle. Surface observations for the affected area at the time of the accident are enclosed.


The scattered wreckage of the airplane was located on a wheat field by units of the Civil Air Patrol 2 days after the accident, approximately 65 miles northeast of its intended destination.

Ground imprints corresponding to the leading edges of the wings and engine were found at the initial point of impact. Fragments of green plastic, identified as portions of the wing tip navigational light for the right wing, were located at one end of the initial impact ground scar. The ground scar at the initial point of impact was aligned on a measured magnetic heading of 315 degrees. The inbound course to their destination was 208 degrees.

The wreckage was found scattered for over 283 feet from the initial point of impact on a measured heading of 305 degrees. The main wreckage came to rest on a measured heading of 240 degrees, approximately 98 feet from the initial point of impact. The engine came to rest 95 feet beyond the main wreckage. The engine sustained impact damage with most accessories found separated from the engine. The crankshaft was rotated and continuity to the accessory gears was confirmed at the site.

The propeller assembly was found separated from the engine at the propeller flange. Both propeller blades sustained S-type bending. See wreckage diagram for details of the wreckage distribution.


An autopsy and toxicological tests were requested and performed. The autopsy was performed by Michael J. Dobersen, M.D., of the Arapahoe County Coroner's Office on June 1, 1995. Toxicological tests were negative.


The wreckage was released to the owners's representative at the accident site.

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