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N6824F accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location 45.883330°N, 84.633330°W
Nearest city Mackinac Island, MI
45.849180°N, 84.618934°W
2.5 miles away
Tail number N6824F
Accident date 19 Apr 1996
Aircraft type Cessna 150F
Additional details: Blue/White

NTSB Factual Report


On April 19, 1996, at 1220 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150F, N6824F, departed St.Ignace, Michigan, with the intended destination of Mackinac Island, Michigan, a distance of four miles. The flight never reached its destination. A subsequent search resulted in the location of the wreckage on April 21, 1996, in 20 feet of water near the north shore of Mackinac Island. The airplane was destroyed. The student pilot sustained fatal injuries. The solo instructional 14 CFR Part 91 flight departed St. Ignace, in what was described by the fixed base operator as "marginal VFR conditions." No flight plan was on file.

The student pilot's flight instructor said he thought the student was going to remain in the airport traffic pattern. The instructor said that on the day prior to the accident, he and the student had practiced instrument flight utilizing a hood. He said that the student's performance was satisfactory. He also said that to his knowledge all the flight instruments in the airplane were working.

The airport manager stated that he observed the airplane departing and heading toward Mackinac Island. He then looked to the northeast where he could see rising terrain on another island. He said it was about three miles away and he could make out the terrain. He Also said that immediately after the airplane departed the weather deteriorated rapidly and the visibility became below three miles within a few minutes. He said he thought since the airplane did not return it had landed on Mackinac Island.


The pilot was born September 27, 1937, He held a student pilot certificate. He held a third class medical certificate issued May 25, 1995. His flight instructor stated that he had a total flight time of about 100 hours with approximately 70 in the make and model of the accident airplane. Neither the pilot nor airplane log books were located during the investigation. The airport manager who was present when the airplane was recovered from Lake Huron, stated that he saw a box in the water during the salvage operation which had been stored in the airplane's baggage compartment and contained the log books. He said the books were not in the box he saw in the water.


The airplane was a Cessna 150F, N6824F, serial number 15063424. The most recent annual inspection was conducted on April 5, 1996. The airport manager stated that the total time on the airframe was about 4,900 hours and the engine had accumulated about 200 hours since a major overhaul. The airplane was not certified for flight in instrument meteorological conditions.


Weather conditions at the departure airport were recorded as AWOS. The 1215 report was measured ceiling one thousand, three hundred feet overcast with ten miles visibility, Twenty minutes later the observation was, sky partially obscured, measured ceiling six hundred broken, eleven hundred overcast, with one and one-quarter miles visibility.


The wreckage was recovered from twenty feet of water in Lake Huron just off the north coast of Mackinac Island. There is a chart attached to this report indicating the departure airport, the approximate location of the destination airport and the point where the wreckage was located. The wreckage was moved to St. Ignace Airport where it was examined on April 24, 1996.

The aircraft was complete except for the left main landing gear, and the emergency locator transmitter. As examined in the hangar, the wings, engine and propeller, and the nose landing gear were separated from the fuselage. The airport manager said that both wings had been torn off in the water and were connected by control cables (which were cut during salvage operations). The left wing leading edge had evidence of crushing damage, starting from the strut attach and extending outboard to the wingtip. Both wing spar and strut attachments were torn loose at the fuselage. The right wing was torn loose at the lower strut attachment. The inboard section was still attached to the top cabin structure. The right wing leading edge had some scratches, but no other damage. The flaps and ailerons were in place. The flaps and flap actuators were in the retracted position. Flap and aileron control continuity was confirmed. The empennage had little impact damage with all flight surfaces in place. The tailcone was crushed forward, starting just forward of the stabilizer leading edge. The elevator trim tab was in a neutral position. Rudder, elevator and trim tab control continuity was confirmed.

The engine and propeller remained together, but as a unit were detached from the airframe. The engine was partially disassembled for inspection. Oil was drained from the sump which appeared clean. The bottom spark plugs were removed and had evidence of combustion deposits. The engine rotated and continuity was established throughout. Compression was found on all cylinders. The vacuum pump was removed and was found to have suction and compression on the appropriate ports. The carburetor was broken loose from its mounting; however, was held in its relative location by the throttle and mixture cables. Continuity of these controls was established and the carburetor was removed for closer inspection. The throttle plate operated and the mixture control moved freely. The venturi was of the one piece configuration. The carburetor bowl was opened and contained a small amount of water. The floats were metal. The float valve operated when air pressure was introduced to the inlet port. The carburetor heat valve was in the off (cold) position. The air filter media was clean and in place. The engine oil filter was removed and cut open. It was clean and free of visible contamination. The muffler shroud was opened and the damage observed was from impact sources.

The propeller had a maintenance sticker dated August 13, 1991. Both cambered surfaces and leading edges were clean and had no damage. One blade was bent aft about five degrees at the outer one-third span.

No fuel was found in either tank. The selector valve was found in the on position. The fuel strainer was clean and the bowl was empty and clean.


A post mortem examination of the pilot was conducted at the General Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, on April 22, 1996. The cause of death was attributed to accidental drowning. Toxicological examination of specimens from the pilot was accomplished and found negative for those drugs screened.


The airplane was released to a representative of the pilot's family on April 24, 1996.

The Federal Aviation Administration, Grand Rapids Flight Standards District Office was a party to the investigation.

NTSB Probable Cause

the student pilot iniating VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions which led to a loss of aircraft control. A factor was the fog.

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