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N4568K accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Sturgis, MI
41.788106°N, 85.476928°W
Tail number N4568K
Accident date 19 May 1995
Aircraft type Ryan Navion
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On May 19, 1995, about 1455 eastern daylight time, a Ryan Navion, N4568K, was destroyed when it impacted the terrain during an attempted go around in Sturgis, Michigan. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries. The local, 14 CFR Part 91 flight originated about 1445. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

Three witnesses, who were sitting in a conference room overlooking the approach end of runway 36, reported that they observed the airplane make five attempts to land on runway 36 and one attempt to land on runway 24. During each attempt, crosswind controls were not applied and the airplane was blown to the east.

They reported that the airplane was "doing lots of banking and fishtailing on final" and approach angles, airspeeds, and power settings varied with each attempt. Another "small" airplane landed, meanwhile, and "didn't seem to have too much trouble with the wind."

During the last attempt, the airplane descended to approximately six feet above the ground and was being blown east of the runway.

The noise of the engine increased to "what sounded like full power." The pitch of the airplane increased, and the airplane climbed to about twenty feet as it rolled to the right. The airplane continued to roll and the right wing impacted the grassy terrain east of the runway. The airplane cartwheeled onto the nose, then the left wing, and came to rest upright on the landing gear.


The NTSB on-scene investigation began on May 19, 1995, about 2200. The wreckage path was located on the east edge of runway 36, about 200 yards from the approach end on a heading of 120 degrees.

The first item in the wreckage path was a ground scar which matched the shape of the leading edge of the right tip tank. Approximately 20 feet further the propeller assembly was partially imbedded into the soft grassy soil. Fragments of plexiglass, and a long ground scar led to the left tip tank. Fragments of the upper cockpit, the canopy, engine, cowling, and the right wing tip were scattered along the path. The main wreckage was located 130 feet from the first ground scar on a heading of 330 degrees, resting upright on the extended landing gear.

The wing leading edges were compressed aft at the tips at approximately 30 degree angles from midspan outboard. The right wing was fractured at the production seam.

The nose forward of the firewall exhibited severe compression damage. The engine was fractured from the mounts and the cowling was separated. The sides of the fuselage were buckled back to approximately the center of the cabin. The aft fuselage and empennage were relatively intact.

The propeller exhibited torsional bending and chordwise scratches. The crankshaft was severed immediately behind the flange. Examination of the engine revealed no evidence of preimpact malfunction. Engine and engine control continuity was verified.

The fuel selector was in the "main" position. The main fuel tanks contained approximately ten gallons of clear blue fuel. A small amount of sediment was sumped from the header tank drain valve and fuel flowed freely from the drain.

The landing gear, flaps, and respective cockpit controls were in the full down positions. The rudder and elevators functioned when tested and continuity of the aileron system was verified. The rudder-aileron interconnect cables and springs were intact.

Examination of the pilot's seat revealed the right seatbelt was separated from the attach fitting. The end of the webbing was not inserted in the three bar slide. The rear seat cross bar was severed from the fuselage on both sides. According to initial responders, the pilot was recovered from the aft baggage area.


The autopsy of the pilot was conducted at the Blodgett Memorial Medical Center, 1840 Wealthy S. E., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49506-2968. The cause of death was specified as "closed head injuries." The results of FAA toxicological testing were negative for all tests conducted.


The Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office, South Bend Indiana, was a party to the investigation.

Following the on-scene portion of the investigation, the wreckage was released to Mr. Brian Riley, the Assistant Manager of the Kirsch Municipal Airport.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's inadequate compensation for wind conditions during the attempted landing and go-around. A factor was the crosswind weather condition.

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