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N733RK accident description

Kansas map... Kansas list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Wichita, KS
37.692236°N, 97.337545°W
Tail number N733RK
Accident date 06 May 2001
Aircraft type Cessna 172N
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On May 6, 2001, at 1540 central daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N733RK, operated by a commercial pilot, was destroyed when it struck a power line and then impacted on to a drag-racing track, 5 miles north of the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (ICT), Wichita, Kansas. A post crash fire ensued. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The instructional flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The instructor pilot and dual student on board the airplane were fatally injured. The local flight departed Colonel James Jabara Airport (3KM), Wichita, Kansas, approximately 1405.

At 1408:42, N733RK contacted the ICT Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) and said they were west-northwest bound out of the Jabara Airport at 2,500 feet msl, and that they would like to go out to Chaney (a state park west of Wichita) by the west practice area. The east radar position local controller (LC) cleared N733RK as requested and instructed them to maintain 3,000 feet msl.

At 1410:56, the east radar position LC told N733RK to contact approach control on radio frequency 126.7 megahertz. N733RK acknowledged and checked in on the new frequency.

Between 1411 and 1454, ICT ATCT made several radio calls to N733RK advising them of other aircraft traffic in their area.

At approximately 1425:46, ICT radar showed N733RK begin to maneuver in the practice area.

At 1440:35, N733RK responded to an ICT ATCT traffic advisory with, "We're practicing some ... simulated engine failures out here ..."

At 1454:57, N733RK informed ICT ATCT that they would be doing some ground reference maneuvers. The west radar position LC told them to "squawk VFR" (switch their transponder code to 1200) and informed them that radar service was terminated.

At 1516:16, N733RK informed ICT ATCT that they were getting ready to cross Kansas Highway 96 and they would be operating in the traffic pattern at Maize Airport for a few minutes. N733RK advised ICT ATCT that they would remain VFR at or below 2,500 feet msl.

At 1516:47, ICT radar showed N733RK depart the practice area and fly west southwest to the Maize Airport (70K).

At 1524:16, N733 ICT radar showed N733RK in the traffic pattern at 70K.

At 2036, ICT radar showed N733RK depart 70K to the south. The airplane made a left turn toward the north and climbed to 1900 feet. ICT radar showed the airplane begin a left turn toward the Wichita International Raceway at 1538:33. The airplane's last radar position was recorded at 1538:56. The airplane was approximately 1/2 mile south-southeast of the raceway and heading north-northeast toward the raceway.

Several witnesses saw the airplane flying low in the vicinity of the Wichita International Raceway. At 1540, one witness reported hearing two blasts like a shotgun. The witness said he and his friends drove over to where they thought the sound had come from. They found the airplane lying on the guard rail of the racetrack totally on fire.

A second witness working in his yard just north of the racetrack said he heard the sound of a small airplane, stopped what he was doing and searched to gain sight of the airplane. He said that he had a clear view of the airplane. It was traveling north-northwest at an altitude of 150 to 200 feet and descending slightly. The witness said the engine speed was very high, but sounded normal, and the flaps were up. The witness watched the airplane until he lost sight of it behind some trees. "About the time I lost visual contact … I heard the metallic sound and noticed that all the power wires (east and west) were bouncing." The witness said he ran into the house to call 9-1-1, but the phones were dead and there was no power to the house.


The instructor pilot had a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for single-engine and multi-engine land, instrument airplanes. The flight instructor's certificate had ratings for instruction in single-engine land, instrument airplanes. The pilot passed his practical test for his instrument instructor rating on February 11, 2001.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aeromedical records, the pilot reported having 1,400 total flight hours on March 13, 2001. The pilot also reported having flown 300 hours in the 6 months prior to the medical examination.

The instructor pilot held a class 2 medical certificate dated March 13, 2001, with limitations, "Holder shall wear corrective lenses".

The dual student held a third class medical certificate that also served as his student pilot certificate. It was dated September 1, 2000, and listed no restrictions.

According to his logbook, the dual student had approximately 85 total flying hours, all of it in single-engine airplanes. Within the 30 days prior to the accident, the dual pilot completed a solo cross-country flight of 2.6 hours duration on April 17, 2001.

The owner and operator of the flight school stated that dual student was 1 or 2 flights away from taking his practical test for his private pilot certificate.


The airplane was owned by Myrtle Aviation, Incorporated, and operated by Sabris Corporation, both at Wichita, Kansas. The airplane was used for flight instruction and as a rental airplane.

According to the airplane's airframe logbook, the airplane underwent a 100-hour inspection on March 22, 2001. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had an airframe time of 8,953 hours. The last entry in the airframe logbook was on April 19, 2001. The airframe time recorded was 8,998.9 hours.


The National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) on scene investigation began on May 7, 2001, at 1215.

The airplane's main wreckage was located approximately 1,975 feet from the south end of a north-south running drag racing strip at the Wichita international Raceway, 6100 Ridge Road. A set of power lines running west-northwest to east-southeast crossed over the drag strip approximately 1320 feet down from the south end of the drag strip. A 110-foot tall power line support tower was located 192 feet west of the drag strip. The top 15 feet of the northernmost pole that held the tower support cable was broken at the top of the cross beam and leaning approximately 30 degrees toward the northeast. The top horizontal support beam between the two tower poles was split horizontally and broken downward. The north 3/4-inch diameter support cable was draped in several trees northeast of the tower. The cable ran northeast, then north, lying across a north-south running power line and up to the airplane main wreckage. The cable was observed running through the airplane's left horizontal stabilizer and elevator and then onto the track. One end of the broken cable was located on the drag strip south of the airplane's main wreckage. The end was unraveled. Each of the seven cable strands showed necking and cup-cone separation. The other end of the cable was found coiled in a soybean field approximately 900 feet southeast of the accident site. The cable end was also unraveled and each strand showed necking and cup-cone separation.

The top 8 inches of the airplane's vertical stabilizer and rudder were located 15 feet east of the track beneath the power lines and approximately 1300 feet north of the south end of the drag strip. The top of the stabilizer and rudder were broken aft longitudinally. A 3/4-inch diameter c-shaped indention ran horizontally along the right side of the stabilizer and rudder. The remainder of the pieces bent around the indentation.

The rudder counterweight was located resting against a portable lavatory approximately 220 feet south-southwest of the vertical stabilizer and rudder pieces. It was broken aft longitudinally.

Approximately 1,690 feet north of the start of the drag strip at the west edge of the track was the airplane's rear position light. Approximately 100 feet north of the position light were several pieces of red glass across the middle of the track. The base of the airplane's beacon was located 1,800 feet north of the start of the drag strip at the east edge of the track.

Approximately 2,060 feet north of the start of the drag strip was the beginning of the debris field leading to the main wreckage. A 13-foot section of track guardrail running along the west edge of the track was crushed downward and outward. A ground scar extended northwestward from the guardrail. The ground scar was 6 feet long, 5 feet wide and 18 inches at its deepest point. A spray of dirt, wood from a broken guardrail support pole, pieces of fiberglass, pieces of metal, and paint chips fanned outward along a 315-degree heading for approximately 8 feet.

Preceding the ground scar on the track was a series of northward-running scrapes in the asphalt. The marks were 12 inches to 24 inches in length and lined up along a 215-degree heading to the guardrail and ground scar. The series of scrapes covered a 22-foot long area. At the southeast edge of the scrapes were several pieces of green-colored glass.

The airplane's upper cowling was located approximately 4 feet north of the ground scar and 4 feet west of the guardrail. It was broken longitudinally and crushed aft and inward. Just north of the upper cowling were small pieces of cabin interior, several flight instruments and aircraft radios. The instruments and radios were crushed, charred and melted.

The airplane's main wreckage rested 17 feet north of the ground scar on and along the west guardrail. The airplane was oriented on a 090-degree magnetic heading. The airplane's main wreckage consisted of the engine and propeller, the outboard left wing, the right wing, the main landing gear, the nose gear, approximately 4 feet of the aft fuselage and the remainder of the empennage.

The airplane's left wing was lying inverted 4 feet from and along the west side of the guardrail. The outboard 9 feet of the left wing and the left aileron were charred and melted. The inboard portion of the left wing including the left wing fuel tank and wing strut was consumed by fire. The smell of fuel was prevalent. The left flap was charred and melted. The outer 26 inches of the left flap was consumed by fire. Control continuity to the left aileron was confirmed.

The left main landing gear strut, wheel and brake were resting on top of the left flap. They were charred and melted. The left tire was charred and consumed by fire.

The airplanes right wing rested upright on the ground approximately 7 feet west and along the guardrail. The wing was broken aft at the root. The forward carry-through spar remained with the wing. The aft inboard 4 feet of the wing and the flap were consumed by fire. The outboard 4 feet of the right wing strut remained attached at the mounting bolt. It was charred and melted. The remainder of the strut was consumed by fire. The leading edge of the right wing was crushed aft beginning 5 feet outboard of the wing root and proceeding outward to the wingtip. The outboard 8 feet of the wing was bent upward approximately 35 degrees and twisted aft. The right wingtip was broken aft. The right aileron was bent upward and buckled. Control continuity to the right aileron was confirmed.

The remains of the airplane's cabin and fuselage were found up against the edge of the guardrail. The airplane's cabin, including the instrument panel, glareshield, front and rear seats, windows, cabin doors, control yokes, rudder pedals, and baggage compartment area were charred, melted, and consumed by fire. The right main landing gear was charred and melted. The right tire was consumed by fire.

The fuselage aft of the baggage compartment was bent to the right, crushed, charred, and melted. The empennage was bent upward and aft. The remaining portion of the vertical stabilizer and rudder were crushed aft and broken longitudinally. The right horizontal stabilizer and right elevator were bent upward and buckled aft beginning at the root. The left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator were bent upward and buckled aft. A 24-inch section of the left elevator was broken aft longitudinally. The power line support wire ran across and through the fractures on the left elevator. Control continuity to the elevator and rudder was confirmed.

The airplane's engine and propeller, firewall and part of the lower cowling were resting on the guardrail and on the track. The engine, firewall, and propeller were charred and melted. Several of the engine accessories were consumed by fire. The firewall was bent down, crushed aft, and charred. The propeller showed torsional bending, chordwise scratches and several 1/4-inch gouges in the leading edges of the blades near the tips. The spinner was crushed aft to conform over the propeller hub. The bottom cowling was charred and consumed by fire.

The airplane's nose gear rested on the track approximately 6 feet east of the guardrail. The nose gear was broken aft. The wheel pant was broken vertically at the wheel hub. Several pieces of Plexiglas pieces were also found on the track near the nose gear.

A debris field extended southeastward from the main wreckage across the track and into the field east of the track, for approximately 45 feet. The debris field contained publications, pieces of the interior cabin walls, paint chips, part of a radio antenna, the top of a main gear wheel pant, wing tip pieces, a 7-inch long piece of the horizontal stabilizer, some airplane radios, and the magnetic compass. At the south edge of the debris field a 3/4-inch wide impression in the asphalt surface spanned the width of the track.

A second debris field extended north from the main wreckage for approximately 129 feet. The debris field contained a cabin air vent, a headset, pieces of Plexiglas, a pager, and small pieces of cabin interior.

An examination of the carburetor fuel screen showed particle debris covering most of the screen. An examination of the engine, engine controls, and other airplane systems revealed no anomalies. The fuel screen and a 12-inch section of aileron flight control cable were retained for further examination.


Autopsies of the instructor pilot and dual student were performed by the Sedgwick County Medical Examiner at Wichita, Kansas on May 7, 2001.

The results of FAA toxicology testing of samples from the instructor pilot were negative for all tests conducted.

The results of FAA toxicology testing of samples taken from the dual student showed the following volatile concentrations:

EPHEDRINE detected in urine.

PSEUDOEPHEDRINE detected in urine.

PHENYLPROPANOLAMINE detected in urine.

According to the National Library of Medicine, EPHEDRINE is used as a nasal decongestant. In combination with Phenobarbital and other substances, EPHEDRINE is a bronchodilator used to treat symptoms of bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and other lung diseases. This medicine relieves cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and troubled breathing by opening up the bronchial tubes (air passages) of the lungs and increasing the flow of air through them. EPHEDRINE in combination with Phenobarbital and other substances is not commercially available in the United States. However, EPHEDRINE is available and is widely used for weight loss, as an energy booster, and to enhance athletic performance. It can be purchased in health food stores in the United States under a variety of brand names. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration warns that the use of EPHEDRINE-containing dietary supplements can produce possible adverse effects as clinically significant as heart attack, stroke, seizures, and death, to clinically less significant effects as dizziness, headache, gastrointestinal distress, and irregular heartbeat.

PSEUDOEPHEDRINE is used to relieve nasal congestion and is found in over-the-counter cold remedies under brand names as Sudafed and Robitussin. Some side effects that may occur when taking PSEUDOEPHEDRINE include trouble sleeping, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath,

NTSB Probable Cause

the student pilot not maintaining clearance from the tower support wire during the practice emergency landing maneuver and the instructor pilot's inadequate supervision of the student pilot. Factors relating to the accident were the static wire and the low altitude.

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