Plane crash map Find crash sites, wreckage and more

N140GS accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Edwardsburg, MI
41.795604°N, 86.080838°W
Tail number N140GS
Accident date 23 Aug 2003
Aircraft type Cessna 140
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On August 23, 2003, about 2029 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 140, N140GS, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage on impact with powerlines and Lake Juno near Edwardsburg, Indiana. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from a private airstrip near Edwardsburg, Indiana, and its intended destination was unknown.

An excerpt from the Cass County Sheriff's report stated:

[A witness] related that he overheard further radio traffic between

the victim and [another pilot flying at the same time], and he

believed they said something about flying over the victim's property

and then going over the swamp area. He described the swamp area

as the Juno/Painter/Christianna Lake area.

An excerpt from the Sheriff's report stated:

[A local homeowner] related that he'd been on the back porch of his

residence when he saw the planes flying over. ... [He] advised that

the planes seemed extremely low, and that he thought that they were going

to hit [a neighbor's] house, which is located near his residence. [He]

indicated that the planes appeared to be playing 'follow the leader'

with the yellow aircraft following a red aircraft. ... [He] related that

he saw the yellow plane circle and then head off toward Juno Lake.

An excerpt from the Sheriff's report stated:

[A boater] related that he was on a pontoon at the time that the plane

involved in the crash came through the channel. He saw that the plane

began to bank right and the wing struck the power line. The plane

then spun and was on its belly on the water. The plane went down

nose first, and he could barely see the tail of it, five or six feet under

the water.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. His last flight review was on October 7, 2002. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the pilot held a third-class medical certificate dated September 24, 2002. That medical certificate carried a limitation requiring that the pilot "must wear corrective glasses." On the medical certificate application, the pilot indicated that he had accumulated 500 hours total time, 45 [plus] of which were accumulated during the six months preceding the certificate date. The pilot recorded that he had accumulated 547.4 hours total flight time in his logbook.


The 1946 Cessna 140, serial number 9456, was a single engine, high-wing airplane. A carbureted Continental C85-12 engine, serial number 27092-7-12, rated at 85 horsepower, powered the airplane. The airplane was fitted with a McCauley fixed pitch 1B90CM7148 propeller, with serial number 23792. Maintenance records indicated that the airplane's last inspection, an annual inspection, was accomplished on October 1, 2002. At the time of the inspection, the airframe had accrued 2,460:06 hours total time.


At 2054, the recorded South Bend Regional Airport, near South Bend, Indiana, weather was: Wind 330 degrees at 6 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 21 degrees C; dew point 14 degrees C; altimeter 30.17 inches of mercury.


A Cass County Sheriff's Sergeant stated, in a report, that he "observed several vessels as well as private vessels on the lake, marking the area where the plane had gone down, which was in approximately 15-20' of water. [A deputy], who is currently assigned with the Marine Division advised that the plane appeared to have entered the water engine first, with the tail approximately 12' down into the water."

On September 4, 2003, a FAA Inspector and a Cessna Air Safety Investigator examined the recovered wreckage. A wire was wrapped around the left main gear. Photographs of a propeller blade revealed a nick on its outboard section. The leading edges of both wings were crushed rearward. The left wing's outboard section exhibited a cut starting at its leading edge. The flap handle was found retracted. The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses. Removed sparkplugs exhibited a dark color with normal wear. The engine produced a thumb compression at all cylinders when the crankshaft was rotated. The magnetos' impulse couplings were operational when rotated by hand. The magnetos did not produce any spark. Engine continuity was established from the cockpit to the engine. Flight control continuity was established. The tachometer read 2,501.22 hours on-scene. The altimeter setting in its Kollsman window read 30.16 inches of mercury. No pre-impact anomalies were observed.


The Cass County Coroner arranged for an autopsy to be performed on the pilot. That autopsy was performed at Spectrum Health on August 25, 2003. That autopsy reported the pilot's cause of death as "craniocerebral trauma."

The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report. The report was negative for all tests performed.


The 1946 Cessna 140 did not have shoulder harnesses installed and was not required to have them installed.


The parties to the investigation included the FAA and Cessna.

The aircraft wreckage was released to an insurance company representative.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot not maintaining altitude/clearance from the power line during his low level cruise. Factors were the power transmission line, the lake, and low altitude flight.

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