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N3279Z accident description

Kansas map... Kansas list
Crash location 37.900833°N, 100.766667°W
Nearest city Garden City, KS
37.971690°N, 100.872662°W
7.6 miles away
Tail number N3279Z
Accident date 02 Oct 2002
Aircraft type Piper PA-18A
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On October 2, 2002, approximately 0658 central daylight time, a Piper PA-18A, N3279Z, owned and piloted by a noninstrument rated private pilot, was destroyed on impact with terrain approximately 2.5 nautical miles southwest of Garden City Regional Airport (GCK), Garden City, Kansas. The airplane was reported missing on the same day and was found on the following day. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from GCK approximately 0641 en route to a private airstrip near Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


The pilot, age 57, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. The last entry in the pilot's logbook was dated July 13, 2002 in the accident airplane from "Gains" to "MCG, AL Al/OVEL" for a total duration 57.00 hours at a total time 2,998 hours. His last biennial flight review was dated April 22, 2002.

He was issued a third class medical certificate on March 28, 2001, with the following limitation: "must have available glasses for near vision."


The 1959 Piper PA-18A, serial number 18-7199, was registered to the pilot's corporation. The airplane was last inspected during an annual inspection dated March 19, 2002, at an aircraft total time and tachometer time of 4,639.05 hours. A 100-hour inspection was also performed on the same date with a time since overhaul of 694.87 hours.


The airplane was resting upright on a northerly heading with its nose embedded in the side of a dry river bed. The propeller was separated from the engine and buried in the ground beneath the wreckage. The propeller exhibited S-shaped twisting and bending. Examination of the flight control system confirmed flight control continuity.


The GCK automated surface observing system recorded, at 0654: wind from 020 degrees at 18 knots gusting to 23 knots; 1 statue mile visibility mist; overcast ceiling 200 feet above ground level; temperature 11 degrees Celsius (C) and dew point 11 degrees C; altimeter setting 29.97 inches of mercury.

According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, civil twilight began at 0714 on the day of the accident.


The Federal Aviation Administration, The New Piper Aircraft, Inc., and Textron Lycoming were parties to the investigation.

The wreckage was released to the registered owner's insurance representative.

NTSB Probable Cause

The inadequate preflight planning/preparation and visual flight rules flight into instrument meteorological conditions by the pilot. The clouds, mist, and night conditions were contributing factors.

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