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N8397Y accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Schaumburg, IL
42.028083°N, 88.088684°W

Tail number N8397Y
Accident date 16 Apr 1995
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-181
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On April 16, 1995, at 1720 hours central daylight time (CDT), a Piper PA-28-181, N8397Y, impacted terrain 100 feet south of runway 28 at Schaumburg Air Park (06C) while maneuvering, and was destroyed. The pilot was ejected from the airplane and sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The airplane had departed 06C about 1710 CDT.

The airport was scheduled to close the following day for several months of construction, and numerous witnesses were gathered to watch the airplanes fly away to other locations. The pilot, who was the airport manager, had stated he would perform maneuvers for the crowd.

The airplane was described by numerous witnesses as rolling inverted at an altitude between 600 and 1,000 feet above the ground, and the nose dropping through vertical in a "split-S" maneuver. The airplane impacted the terrain in a level attitude. Numerous witnesses described the engine as operating at full throttle until impact.

Witnesses interviewed by Safety Board investigators indicated that the pilot had previously performed aerobatic maneuvers in the airplane, including loops and rolls.


The 70 year old pilot held a commercial instrument certificate with privileges for single and multi-engine airplanes. He had accumulated approximately 12,000 total flight hours according to his latest medical application. He had a valid class 2 medical certificate with a restriction for corrective lenses while flying. The pilots personal logbook could not be located.


The airplane was a Piper PA-28-181 Archer, serial number 28- 8190253, certificated in the normal and utility category. It was equipped with a normally aspirated, 180 horsepower, Lycoming O-360, engine.

The Pilot Operating Handbook, and a placard in the cockpit stated, "Acrobatic maneuvers are limited to the following: Entry Speed Spins Prohibited ---- Steep Turns 113 KIAS Lazy Eights 113 KIAS Chandelles 113 KIAS

Airplane and engine maintenance logbooks could not be located. The last record available of maintenance performed was from an insurance claim dated 3/25/94. A review of these records revealed no discrepancies with the airplane.


Ground scars which corresponded to the dimensions of all three landing gear were located 100 feet south of runway 28. Extending east from this initial set of scars was a wreckage path with the main fuselage coming to rest 186 feet from the initial impact point, the engine 253 feet from initial impact, and the ejected pilot 113 feet east of the fuselage. Fifteen feet east of the initial impact scars, were the prop, several belly stringers and the pilots seat track.

All lower surfaces of the airplane fuselage, engine cowl, wings and landing gear were covered with mud and impacted soil. The wheel pant leading edges were shattered, and the trailing edges were intact. The upper surfaces of the fuselage and wings exhibited little dirt. All lower surfaces exhibited crushing, and leading edges of both wings and the left stabilator were crushed aft. The left stabilator spar was deformed aft 85 degrees. The lower skin on the entire empennage was torn open and crushed aft.

The propeller separated, with the crankshaft forward flange remaining attached to the back of the prop hub. Both propeller blades exhibited twisting along the entire span, chordwise scratching, and numerous large nicks.

All rear accessories remained attached to the engine, and sustained minor damage. Continuity existed from the propeller shaft, through the engine, to the accessory drive pads. Compression existed in all cylinders. Both magnetos and impulse couplings functioned and sparked. No anomalies except impact related damage were discovered.

Fuel was present in the carburetor bowl, electric fuel pump, fuel selector valve, and fuel lines. The fuel selector valve was selected to the left tank, and the line was clear.

Approximately five gallons of fuel was drained from the right wing after the accident. The left wing was ruptured, and no fuel was recovered. The smell of fuel, and a fuel sheen, was present on the water in the drainage ditch where the main wreckage was located. A fuel sheen was present on the water underneath the engine as well.


An autopsy was performed by the Cook County Coroners office, Chicago, Illinois. Toxicology tests performed by the Department of Defense, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology revealed an Ethanol level of 96 mg/dl in vitreous fluid, and 24 mg/dl in liver tissue.


The pilot shoulder harness was found intact and unconnected to the lap belt. The lap belt was found intact and buckled. The pilots seat track had been stripped from the airplane at impact and was found imbedded in the ground 15 feet east of the initial impact point. The pilot was ejected from the cockpit and sustained multiple trauma injuries.


The wreckage was released to AIG Aviation Corporation on April 21, 1995.

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