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N118AT accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Danville, IN
39.760601°N, 86.526388°W

Tail number N118AT
Accident date 16 Sep 1995
Aircraft type Piper PA-38-112
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On September 16, 1995, about 1505 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-38-112, N118AT, operated by American Trans Air Training Corporation, was destroyed when it impacted the terrain while maneuvering near Danville, Indiana. The commercial pilot and the dual student pilot sustained fatal injuries. The local, 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight originated about 1442. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

Witnesses reported observing the airplane flying in a northerly direction at an estimated altitude of 500 feet. Two witnesses reported hearing the engine sound increase. One witness reported hearing the engine "restart." The airplane descended in a "loose spiral." The nose came up and it turned to the right then "sharply to the left...into a steep tight spiral." It impacted the terrain going "straight down."


The NTSB on-scene investigation began about 1000 on September 17, 1995. The wreckage was located in a cornfield 1,340 feet east of county road 900E and 1,340 feet south of county road 900N on an easterly heading. All wreckage was located in an area approximately the size of the airplane. The corn immediately behind the airplane was undamaged. The ground and corn in front of the airplane was trampled.

The fuselage and leading edges of both wings wing were crushed aft at an angle corresponding to a pitch attitude of approximately 30 degrees nose down. The tail cone was buckled immediately forward of the empennage. The engine mount and firewall were bent downward approximately 90 degrees from the longitudinal axis.

The propeller remained attached to the engine. One blade exhibited minor aft bending at the midspan. Both blades exhibited chordwise scratches.

Engine continuity was verified and all four cylinders had compression. Both magnetos, the fuel pump, and the oil filter assembly were fractured from the accessory case. Visual inspection of the carburetor revealed no evidence of malfunction. The leads of both magnetos sparked when the shafts were turned by hand. The spark plugs exhibited normal wear.

Examination of flight control continuity revealed no evidence of preimpact malfunction. The flap handle was in the flaps up detent.


Autopsies were conducted at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Pathology Forensic Division, 635 Barnhill Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202. Toxicological testing of the flight instructor was negative for all tests conducted.


Radar data recorded by the Indianapolis Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility indicates the airplane departed the Indianapolis class C airspace on a westerly heading at 2,500 feet mean sea level (MSL). The radar data was evaluated using the "flight.exe" performance program. According to the output data from the program, the airplane slowed to an airspeed of 50 knots. The angle of attack increased to 8.59 degrees and the airplane began a rapid descent. The airplane was at 1,500 feet MSL with a vertical velocity of approximately -9,000 feet per minute when the last radar return was received.


Parties to the investigation were the Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office, Indianapolis Indiana, and The New Piper Aircraft, Inc., and American Trans Air Training Corporation.

Following the on-scene portion of the investigation, the wreckage was released to American Trans Air Training Corporation.

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