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N23176 accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Urbana, IL
40.098366°N, 88.173379°W

Tail number N23176
Accident date 21 Aug 1996
Aircraft type Piper J3C-65
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On August 21, 1996, at 1856 central daylight time, a Piper J3C-65, N23176, sustained substantial during impact with the terrain following impact with the terrain shortly after takeoff. The airplane was departing to the east from a private turf runway eight miles north of Urbana, Illinois. The pilot suffered serious injuries while the passenger received fatal injuries. The personal 14 CFR Part 91 flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan was on file. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

During a direct interview with the pilot and in his written statement, the pilot stated that he had given two rides in the accident airplane and was climbing out to the east on the third ride, when he thought that the engine did not sound right or that he heard an unusual noise. He said that after sensing that there might be something wrong with the engine, it continued to produce power and he was still able to maintain a climb. He then told his passenger that he was going to return to the airport and at the same time initiated a turn to land to the west on the runway he had just departed from, but in the opposite direction. He said that at the 180 degree point of the turn, he remembered going down into the cornfield. He said that the airplane had been inspected in May of 1996, and since that time, he had never experienced any mechanical difficulties with the accident airplane.

Federal Aviation Administration inspectors examined the airplane the day after the accident and found no mechanical anomalies which they could associate with other than impact damage. There was a strong odor of fuel and no reason could be found to indicate a power loss for the engine.

The airplane wreckage was released to a representative of the owner on September 5, 1996.

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