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N8214W accident description

Kansas map... Kansas list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Lincoln, KS
39.695838°N, 97.661430°W
Tail number N8214W
Accident date 28 Mar 1996
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-180
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On March 28, 1996, at about 2335 central standard time (cst), a Piper PA-28-180, N8214W, registered to Topeka Flyers, Inc., of Topeka, Kansas, impacted terrain five miles south of Lincoln, Kansas. The airplane was destroyed. The private pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The personal 14 CFR Part 91 flight originated from Salina, Kansas, at 2255 cst, en route to Denver, Colorado.

According to witnesses, the pilot elected to fly himself to a company meeting in Denver, Colorado, and was off to a late start due to family commitments that evening of March 28, 1996. The pilot departed Philip Billard Municipal Airport, Topeka, Kansas, at 2045 cst with an intended stop at Salina Municipal Airport, Salina, Kansas, to pick up a passenger. The airplane was fueled at Flower Aviation with 9.6 gallons of 100LL of AVGAS. No weather update was reported as having been received by the pilot. The airplane departed Salina Municipal Airport at 2255 cst en route to Denver, Colorado. It was a dark, clear night and the flight route was flown over unpopulated terrain.

The wreckage was discovered by two local residents traveling on a dirt country road to work at 0800 on March 29, 1996.


The pilot was born September 28, 1954. He held a private certificate with a single engine land rating. The pilot also held a third class medical issued on November 29, 1994.

A review of the pilot's last logbook revealed his most recent biennial flight review was on December 3, 1994. There were no entries in the logbook which indicated the pilot had accumulated any instrument flying experience either in actual or simulated conditions. He had accumulated a total of 229 hours of flight time, 78 hours of which were in Piper PA-28 airplanes.


The airplane was a Piper PA-28-180, serial number 28-2347, N8214W. The airplane had accumulated 6,258 hours time in service at the time of the accident. The engine had 302 hours since its last overhaul. The most recent annual inspection was conducted on September 21, 1995, 146 hours prior to the accident.


The pilot received two telephone weather briefs from the Wichita Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS). The first briefing was at 1801 cst, and consisted of a flight plan from Topeka, Kansas to Denver, Colorado. The en route weather was reported by the AFSS forecaster as "...kind of marginal out of Topeka thirty seven hundred broken and going across the area it fluctuates up to clear below twelve around Salina although I see Fort Riley says four thousand through five thousand scattered...reading these individually cause you may start (unintelligible) en route if you're staying VFR you may start to see things change... ." In a written transcript from the Wichita AFSS Preflight 07 Position Specialist, she stated, "...I cautioned the pilot that clouds en route may become 2,500 to 4,000 feet... ." The second briefing at 2036 cst was an update to the first briefing with minimal changes. The pilot did not receive an updated weather briefing when he was ready to depart Salina, Kansas, after picking up his passenger.

Russell Automated Weather Observation Station, Russell, Kansas, located about 26 miles at 070 degrees from the accident site, reported at 2335 cst: measured 1,100 broken ceiling 10 plus mile visibility. Salina Municipal Airport located about 22 miles at 290 degrees from the accident site, reported at 2339 cst: measured 1,800 feet broken ceiling 7 miles visibility.


The NTSB on-scene investigation began at 0800 on March 30, 1996. The wreckage was located five miles south of Lincoln, Kansas, and one mile west of Kansas Highway 14, in a grassy pasture.

The wreckage was discovered in a near vertical attitude on a heading of approximately 340 degrees. The engine and propeller were buried in the impact crater and were not visible. The engine assembly was separated from the airframe. The airframe was located six feet to the right of the engine assembly. The forward and aft fuselage, wings, and tail section were all compressed into a pile approximately three feet thick. Pieces of the airplane and its contents were spread out in an arc of 160 degrees to the right of the left wing tip and 80 feet out. The outboard section of the left wing exhibited bending inward towards the aft spar slice. The left aileron was found in position. The left flap was buckled, but in position and partially attached. The aft left wing attach point had impact damage, but was in place. The left main spar was bowed upward from impact. The left landing gear had heavy impact damage and had partially separated from the wing structure.

The right wing had chordwise impact damage along the full span. The right aileron was damaged, but attached at all hinge points. The right flap was found in place, but damaged along the leading edge and bottom. The outboard upper wing skin had come loose along the spar, and the leading edge was compressed into the main spar. Both fuel tanks had ruptured. A section of fuel tank was found with the fuel tank drain valve (petcock) locked in the open position. No indication of fuel staining was found on the right wing or flap. The right wing remained attached to the fuselage. The landing gear was partially separated and bent aft almost flat against the bottom of the wing and into the flap.

The horizontal stabilator received impact damage to the left leading edge side. Hinge points and stop bolts were found undamaged and in place. The counterweight and trim weight were in place. The stabilator tube assembly had pulled loose from the spar box. Both control cables were found secure and in place. The stabilator trim drum showed a top shaft extension of one inch with approximately eight threads, or about 5 degrees nose up trim. The vertical stabilizer was still secured to the fuselage mountings. All rudder hinge points and stop bolts were intact, and both control cables were in place and secure.

The tail section of the fuselage had been compressed into what normally would be the cabin area, compromising all occupiable space. All of the instrument panel and controls were destroyed. The main cabin door was found approximately 80 feet northeast of the impact area. The cargo door was found approximately 60 feet away in the same general direction. The fuel selector valve was recovered in the left tank position. The directional gyro and altimeter were recovered. The directional internal gyro wheel showed one black mark approximately 3/4 inch long. The altimeter indicted 1,600 feet with the Kohlsman setting at 29.94 inches of mercury. All other instruments were destroyed beyond recognition.

A continuity check of the flight control systems was completed with no pre-impact discrepancies noted. The engine was examined and completely disassembled on March 31, 1996. Examination of engine continuity revealed no evidence of pre-impact mechanical malfunction. All three top spark plugs were slightly tan. The number two cylinder spark plug was wet with oil. All lower spark plugs were broken off. The carburetor was broken off of the oil sump assembly and destroyed. The accessory housing was broken. The left and right magnetos and fuel pump were severed from the accessory case and destroyed. The propeller was sheared off of the engine aft of the crankshaft propeller flange. Both blades of the metal propeller exhibited torsional bending. One blade was bent aft about 45 degrees at the midspan of the blade and exhibited minor leading edge damage. The other blade exhibited S-shape bending.

The vacuum pump shaft was sheared off but the shaft still rotated. The vacuum pump rotor was fractured from impact. All five vanes were in position and were intact with one vane broken. The vacuum gauge indicted 4 inches of mercury.


A post mortem examination of the pilot was conducted on March 29, 1996 at Ryan Funeral Home, Salina, Kansas. The pilot's toxicological analysis was performed by the FAA's Civil Medical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicological examination of specimens from the pilot were negative for the drugs scanned.


Radar data recorded by the Kansas City Air Route Traffic Control Center indicated the airplane departed the Salina Airport on a northwest heading and was picked up on radar at 2300 cst. At 2305 cst, the airplane turned on a westerly heading. Radar data was lost at 2312 cst northeast of the accident site. The airplane's altitude was not recorded on the radar data.


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

The airplane wreckage was released to the Insurance Company Representative on March 31, 1996.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot became spatially disoriented and failed to maintain control of the airplane. The factors involved were the pilot encountered VFR flight into IMC, pressure induced by conditions/events, low ceilings, and the dark light conditions.

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