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N1218M accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Jacksonville, FL
30.332184°N, 81.655651°W

Tail number N1218M
Accident date 17 Dec 1997
Aircraft type Cessna A150K
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On December 17, 1997, at 1215 eastern standard time, a Cessna A150K, N1218M, collided with the ground, according to witnesses, following a banner pick-up at Craig Municipal Airport in Jacksonville, Florida. The banner tow flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. A review of recovered weather data disclosed that visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane sustained substantial airframe damage. The two commerical rated pilots were fatally injured. The local banner tow flight departed Craig Municipal Airport in Jacksonville, Florida, at 1210.

According to the operator, the pilot departed on a routine banner tow mission. A company employee, directly associated with this banner tow mission recalled that the pilot had established a final approach to runway 05, for the banner pick-up. The approach and pick-up appeared normal. After the banner hook-up, the pilot initiated a climb attitude. Seconds into the climb, the airplane was observed in a steep nose up attitude. The employee, who also photographed the initial phase of the climbout, further recalled that the airplane banked slightly to the right, followed by what the tower controller described a left wing dip and a left spin. The airplane collided with the ground several hundred feet northeast of the banner pickup point. The eyewitness also stated that the engine continued to run throughout the maneuver (see attached witness statement).


The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with a single engine, multi-engine and instrument airplane rating. His last medical certificate, a second class, was dated April 24, 1997, and contained the limitation that the pilot needed to wear corrective lens to exercise the privileges of the airman's certificate. All information on pilot flight time and flight currency was provided by the operator. Additional personnel information is contained in this report o page 3 under "First Pilot Information."

Information about the second pilot is provided in NTSB Form 6120.4 Supplement "E." According to the operator, the second pilot was a contract sales person for the banner tow operation but was not cleared as a banner tow pilot.


A review of the aircraft maintenance logs disclosed that the last weight and balance was completed on June 5, 1996. The aircraft gross weight was 1600 pounds, and the aircraft useful load was 410 pounds. According to FAA medical certificates, the pilot and his passenger weights were 174 pounds and 175 pounds respectively. According to the operator, the flight departed with approximately 18 gallons of fuel onboard. The aircraft maximum gross weight at takeoff was 1647 pounds. The operator reported that the banner weighed about 35 pounds.


A review of weather data recovered from the Craig Airport Control Tower disclosed that visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Additional information about the weather is contained on page 3 and 4 under the data field titled "Weather Information".


Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane rested in a nose down attitude adjacent to the paved runway. The aircraft wreckage was orientated on a 230 degree magnetic heading. . All wreckage debris was located within the immediate vicinity of the main wreckage. Examination of the wing assembly disclosed that the structural support was deflected down and aft of the normally installed position. The outboard wing tips were displaced aft and vertical from their original positions. Crushing and chordwise impact damage was noted along the entire span of the leading edge of the wing assembly. Both wing struts remained attached to the bottom of the wing assembly.

The empennage section of the airframe was torn from the fuselage aft the rear bulkhead. The flight control cables remained attached throughout the assembly and flight controls. Flight control movement was also established during the onsite phase of the wreckage examination. The rudder assembly and the elevator controls also sustained impact damage

The main fuselage and nose section of the airframe rested in a nose attitude. The engine assembly was buried several inches into the ground. The engine assembly was displaced aft into the firewall, and the firewall was also displaced aft into the cockpit. Examination of the cockpit disclosed that the instrument panel and the flight control yokes were also displaced aft from their normally installed positions. Further examination of the cockpit disclosed that the center and common seatbelt attach fitting bolt, for both seatbelts, was bent and the threads had been striped; the security nut was not recovered.

The engine assembly was removed from the accident site for further examination. During the off site engine examination, both magnetos produced ignition sparks to all spark plugs. The spark plugs showed normal wear. A thumb compression check was accomplished, and each cylinder produced what appeared to have been normal compression. Approximately 18 gallons of fuel were recovered from the fuel system. Examination of the airframe and engine assembly failed to disclose a mechanical malfunction or a component failure.


A postmortem examination of the pilot was conducted by Dr. Martarita Arruza on December 18, 1997 at the office of the Medical Examiner in Jacksonville, Florida. Toxicological examinations of the pilot were conducted by the Toxicology and Research Laboratory, FAA. The toxicology examinations were negative for drugs and alcohol.


The aircraft wreckage was released to Mr. Harry Brooks of Carson and Brooks, insurance adjuster, of Atlanta, Georgia.

A review of the certificate of waiver issued by the Federal Aviation Administration August 11, 1997, did not list the second pilot on board the airplane as an approved pilot to operate the airplane for banner tow operations. The certificate of waiver further states that only crew members essential to the operation should be carried on the banner tow flight. The typical banner tow flight requires only one pilot. According to the operator, the second pilot was not approved for this flight.

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