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N17BK accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Dwight, IL
41.065588°N, 88.420336°W

Tail number N17BK
Accident date 02 Sep 1995
Aircraft type Kiesel Easy Varieze
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On September 2, 1995, at 0845 central daylight time (cdt), a Kiesel Easy Varieze, N17BK, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed by fire after colliding with tall corn and the ground after takeoff from runway 27 (2,368' X 21' dry asphalt) at the Dwight Airport, Dwight, Illinois. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured. The flight departed Dwight, Illinois, at 0845 cdt.

According to witnesses, the pilot of the airplane had landed because his passenger had smelled a fuel odor during flight. They said the pilot and passenger determined there were no fuel leak and decided to depart. One witness, the airport manager, said the pilot started the engine, performed a pre-takeoff checklist and an engine runup before taxiing to the runway. He said the pilot stopped N17BK on the runway, applied what he thought was full power and released the brakes for takeoff. He said the engine sounded normal during the runup and takeoff roll.

Witnesses said the airplane lifted off near the runway's end and began a shallow climb. They said the airplane's landing gear, followed by the left wing, collided with the corn. Shortly after the collision with the corn, N17BK struck the ground and caught fire.

The airport manager's written statement said the wind was from the south at 2 to 3 miles per hour. He said the temperature at N17BK's takeoff was about 70 to 75 degrees. During an interview with the manager he said N17BK appeared to climb about 5 to 6 feet above the runway. He said it remained at that altitude until it struck the corn opposite the departure end of runway 27. He said the airplane accelerated slowly throughout its takeoff roll.


The pilot's logbook(s) were not located in the wreckage. Family members of the pilot could not locate the pilot's logbook(s). According to FAA records, the pilot reported he had 200 hours total time when he applied for his last airman's medical on October 15, 1994.


Airframe and powerplant logbooks were not found in the wreckage. Family members of the pilot could not locate the airframe and powerplant logbooks. The builder of the airplane was contacted for information on the airframe and engine. He stated he did not have any information on N17BK because he had given all that material to the pilot when he purchased it from the builder.


N17BK's main wreckage was located in a corn field, about 475 feet west of Dwight Airports' runway 27 departure end. Its path through the top of the corn was on a heading of about 265 degrees magnetic. Small pieces of N17BK's left wingtip, its nose gear assembly, and canopy were found long this trail. The corn was about 8 feet tall at the field's east border. It was cut to shorter lengths as the wreckage trail went to the west. About 160 feet west of the field's east boundary the corn's height leveled off too about 4 feet above the ground. This height remained constant until reaching the wreckage site.

The fuselage, forward stabilator, most of the right wing and about one-half the left wing were destroyed by fire. The airplane's wooden pusher propeller had both blades separated from its hub. The wood at the separation points was splintered and in various lengths. The engine's crankshaft rotated, the magneto drive gears rotated and the intake and exhaust valve rocker arms moved up and down during the crankshaft rotation. The engine's top spark plugs were examined and found water soaked. The water soaking was due to the fire suppression activities. They did not have deposits at or around their electrodes. The magnetos were not able to be rotated due to fire damage.

Flight control continuity was established between the stabilator, ailerons, and rudder assemblies with the side stick controller and rudder pedal mounting hardware. Cables to the rudders were separated near the wing root area. These ends were broomed with individual strand ends stretched and necked.


The autopsy on the pilot was conducted for the Grundy County, Illinois, Coroner's Office by a pathologist located in Channahon, Illinois, on September 2, 1995. The toxicology examination of the pilot was conducted by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The report showed an unspecified amount of hydrochlorothiazide detected in the urine and kidney fluid. According to the 1993 edition of the Physician's Desk Reference, is an antihypertensive-diuretic drug.


N17BK's builder said the airplane was built heavier than most other Varieze's he was aware of. He said the airplane did not climb as rapidly as other airplanes he was familiar with. He said it needed about 2,500 feet of runway to takeoff. He said he never took the airplane off a runway that was shorter than 3,500 feet long.

A friend of the pilot had flown with him on previous occasions. He said the airplane "...loves the ground." He said it uses 2,000 feet of runway easily during takeoff. He said the pilot regularly flew the airplane from an airport that had a runway that was 3,500 feet long. The manager of the airport where N17BK was based stated he has seen the airplane takeoff often. He said the airplane regularly used 75 percent of the runway before lifting off.

The wreckage was released to the Dwight Airport's manager.

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