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N1646J accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Newton, IA
43.386899°N, 93.678274°W

Tail number N1646J
Accident date 05 Mar 1993
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-140
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On March 5, 1993, about 1910 central standard time, a Piper PA-28 airplane, N1646J, was destroyed when it collided with terrain near the Newton Municipal Airport, Newton, Iowa. The non-instrument rated private pilot and three passengers aboard were fatally injured. The local, personal flight operated without flight plan in instrument meteorological conditions under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from the Newton Municipal Airport at 1845.

Witnesses reported dense fog at the time of the accident. The night manager at the fixed base operator at the Newton Municipal Airport reported the dense fog began to form about 15 minutes after the airplane took off. There were three witnesses in the vicinity of the crash site. All three stated they heard a small airplane flying overhead. They all reported they heard a sound characterized as a crack and scraping sound, followed by the sound of the engine revving up for a few seconds, then a loud and solid crash sound. The crash occurred in the back yards of a residential area one mile northwest of the airport.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane, single engine land rating, issued December 24, 1990. He held a third class medical certificate with the limitation that glasses be worn while exercising the privileges of his airman certificate. Examination of the pilot's log book revealed he had accumulated 212 hours total flight time, all of which was in single engine airplanes. He had accumulated 202 hours in this make and model airplane. In the last 90 days, and in the last 30 days, the pilot had logged 11 hours and 3 hours, respectively. He had logged 46 hours of night time, with 3 hours in the last 90 days.

The pilot's log book showed a total of three hours of simulated instrument flight time. The most recent simulated instrument flight time was one hour of dual instruction conducted on July 18, 1992. The other two hours of simulated instrument flight were conducted in April and June 1990 as part of the pilot's private pilot instructional curriculum.


The airplane, a Piper PA-28-140, serial number 28-24038, was manufactured in 1967. The total airframe hours accumulated at the time of the accident were 1820. The last inspection performed on the airplane was an annual inspection completed on August 16, 1992. The airplane had flown 35 hours since the last inspection.


The record observation reported by the Newton Automatic Weather Observation Station (AWOS) at 1945 was:

Sky partially obscured; ceiling, measured 200 feet overcast; visibility, less than one-quarter mile; temperature 32; dew point 32; wind calm; altimeter setting 30.04 in. Hg.

Witnesses at the airport reported dense fog started forming about 1900. The weather at the airport at the time the pilot took off was reported to be clear, with a visibility of seven miles. There is no record of the pilot receiving a weather brief.


The airplane first struck a tree approximately 30 feet above the ground. The outboard five feet of the right wing was separated from the airplane and was located under the tree. The airplane impacted the ground in an inverted attitude 175 feet from the tree. There were two propeller slash marks in the ground preceding the impact mark. The distance between the slashes was 24 inches. The direction of the energy path was 018 degrees magnetic. There was a second ground impact scar 135 feet from the first ground impact. Both the left and right wings were separated from the fuselage at the attachment points and were located near the second ground impact scar.

The airplane came to rest on a heading of 240 degrees magnetic, 160 feet from the second ground impact mark. The propeller was separated from the engine, and was located in the wreckage trail near the wings.

The flaps were in the up position. The throttle was in the full forward position, and the mixture was rich. Control continuity was established from the control pedestal to the rudder and the stabilator, and to the point where the aileron cables exited the fuselage.

The communication radio frequency was set to 122.8. The navigation radio frequency was set to 111.4. The engine tachometer indicated 2800 rpm, and 1820.28 hours elapsed time. The altimeter setting was 30.04. The pitot heat was on. The cabin air and defrost were off. The cabin heat was on. No navigation charts or terminal approach plates were found in the wreckage.


An autopsy and toxicological examination was conducted on the pilot. The autopsy was performed by Ashok R. Pradhan, M.D., Iowa Pathology Associates, West Des Moines, Iowa. The toxicological examination was negative.


The wreckage was released to Eric O'Leary, Newton Municipal Airport, as agent for the owner's insurance company.

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