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N383AV accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Savoy, IL
40.054753°N, 88.251717°W

Tail number N383AV
Accident date 17 May 1997
Aircraft type Piper PA-38-112
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On May 17, 1997, at 2032 central daylight time, a Piper PA-38-112, N383AV, registered to Flightstar Corporation and operated by a private pilot, was destroyed on impact with the terrain following a departure from controlled flight. The airplane had landed on runway 32L (8,100' X 150' dry/concrete), and was conducting a touch and go landing when the engine suffered a loss of power during initial climb following takeoff. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The personal 14 CFR Part 91 flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan was on file. The local flight departed Savoy at 1749.

The pilot told personnel at Flightstar Corporation the flight was for the purpose of maintaining currency and proficiency. However, the actual whereabouts of the airplane between the departure at 1749, until the return to the airport is not known. No one was located who indicated that they witnessed the preflight of the airplane. Personnel at Flightstar Corporation said that the pilot did not request fuel for the airplane prior to the flight.


The pilot born September 14, 1974, was the holder of a private pilot certificate issued January 5, 1995. She received a third class medical certificate on September 5, 1996. At the time of the accident she had accumulated a total pilot time of 180 hours, with 63 hours in this make and model of airplane. Her most recent biennial flight review was on February 14, 1997.


The airplane was a Piper PA-38-112, N383AV, and serial number 38-79A0124. At the time of the accident the airframe had accumulated about 7,462 hours, with 72 hours since the most recent annual inspection on March 19, 1997.


A transcript of conversations between the pilot of N383AV and the Federal Aviation Administration, University of Illinois, Air Traffic Control Tower, is attached as an addendum to this report.


The airplane impacted the terrain on the airport, to the northwest of the intersection of runways 32L and 36, in a grassy area. The entire airplane was identified at the impact site. The front of the airplane including the nose landing gear, engine, propeller, cowling, firewall, and instrument panel bent up and aft into the cockpit. The airplane remained standing on the collapsed engine and the main landing gear. The tailcone broke and bent forward over the cockpit. Both right and left wings were collapsed from the leading edge aft with spanwise creasing.

Continuity was established throughout all flight and engine controls. The engine was examined and had thumb compression on all cylinders. The magnetos were broken away from their mounts, but both sparked on all leads. The carburetor was also broken from it mount. The venturi was intact. The engine was rotated and continuity was established through the power section including the rear accessories and valve train. During rotation oil was observed pumping out of the oil filter mount at the rear case.

The propeller had no polishing or gouging on the leading edge. One blade was bent aft about 20 degrees and the other about 5 degrees.

Both the left and right fuel tanks remained intact; however, only contained unusable fuel. The fuel selector was in the right tank position. There was no fuel leakage around the accident site or running from the airplane after the accident. The fuel caps were in place and the seals were in good condition. On inspection, there were no fuel stains identified anywhere on the airframe.

Personnel at Flightstar Corporation said that the airplane was serviced with eight (8) gallons of aviation fuel on May 17, 1997, prior to the accident flight. They said that it was not their policy to fuel their airplanes to the maximum capacity, rather to the bottom of the "filler neck." They estimated that the usable fuel aboard the airplane at the time the pilot received it at a maximum of 20 gallons (usable). An excerpt from the Piper Aircraft PA-38-112, Maintenance Manual is attached to this report and states, "... Bottom of filler neck indicator equals 10 U. S. gallons" [20 gallons total]. Records kept at Flightstar indicate an average fuel burn for the Piper PA-38-112 of 6.5 gallons/hour, based on the use of a Hobbs meter and all flight conditions of their airplanes.

At the time the pilot received the airplane, records at Flightstar indicated a Hobbs meter time of 202.8 hours. In the wreckage, the Hobbs meter read 205.6 hours.


A post-mortem examination of the pilot indicated that death was due to trauma, with no physiological or pathological conditions found that could not be associated with the accident. Results of toxicological examination of specimens from the pilot were negative for those substances screened.


Parties to the accident were the Federal Aviation Administration, Flight Standards District Office, Springfield, Illinois; Piper Aircraft Corporation, Vero Beach, Florida; and Lycoming Engines, Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The wreckage was released to the owner (Flightstar Corporation) on May 18, 1997.

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