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N7091M accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Unknown, MI
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Tail number N7091M
Accident date 10 Nov 2002
Aircraft type Cessna 175
Additional details: None
No position found

NTSB Factual Report


On November 10, 2002, at about 1816 central standard time, a Cessna 175, N7091M, dropped out of radar coverage over Lake Michigan south of Fairport, Michigan. Both the US Coast Guard and the Civil Air Patrol conducted a search for the airplane. The airplane remains missing and presumed to have been substantially damaged. It is presumed that the pilot was fatally injured. The passenger's body was located on December 7, 2002. The Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was operating in marginal visual flight rules weather conditions and there was no flight plan on file. The airplane last departed Fond Du Lac (FLD), Wisconsin, around 1645, en route to Beaver Island, Michigan.

The manager at the Manistique-Schoolcraft Airport (ISQ), Manistique, Michigan, stated that the pilot landed there at the airport on November 7, 2002. He stated the airplane was fueled with 28.4 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. The fuel receipt, provided by the manager, was time stamped at 12:24. He stated the airplane was on the ground only long enough to receive the fuel. The manager stated he was familiar with the pilot and N7091M, as the pilot frequently flew into the airport. He stated that in the past, the pilot had mentioned to him that he did not like flying over the water. The manager stated that whenever the airplane landed in Manistique after crossing the water, the passengers were always wearing floatation devices.

Records indicate the N7091M was fueled at FLD, on November 7, 2002. The fuel receipt shows N7091M received 19.8 gallons of fuel. This receipt is time stamped 04:05 pm, however, the airport manager stated the time was actually 03:05 pm, as the clock had not yet been adjusted to standard time.

The next record of N7091M that was located was at the Lee C. Fine Memorial Airport (AIZ), Lake Ozark, Missouri. The activity log for the airport shows that N7091M landed there on November 8, 2002, at 1145. The fuel log at the airport shows the airplane was fueled with 29 gallons of fuel.

The activity log for AIZ shows N7091M departed the airport on November 10, 2002, at 0825.

A fuel receipt from the Illinois Valley Regional Airport (VYS), Peru, Illinois, shows N7091M was fueled with 29.56 gallons of fuel on November 10, 2002. This receipt is time stamped 1224. Another receipt shows the pilot also purchased oil. The lineman who was on duty at the time of the refueling stated he did not recall the airplane or its occupants.

Another receipt from FLD showed N7091M received 15.1 gallons of fuel on November 10, 2002. This receipt is time stamped 04:41 pm. Again the manager stated the time was actually 03:41 pm. The line man who fueled the airplane recalled the event. He stated the pilot told him that he was returning from a Marine Corp Ball in Ozark, Missouri. He stated the fuel added topped off the fuel tanks and the pilot also checked the oil level. The lineman stated the pilot did not seem to be in a hurry and that he appeared to be in good health. He reported it was just about dark outside when the airplane departed around 1645.

The Department of the Air Force/Civil Air Patrol initiated their search on November 11, 2002, at 1027. The search was suspended on November 25, 2002, at 0825.


The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, multi-engine land, instrument airplane, and airplane single engine sea ratings. He held a third-class medical certificate, which was issued on December 28, 2001. The last medical certificate contained the restriction "Must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision while exercising the privileges of his airmen certificate."

The pilot's logbooks were not located during this investigation. On the application for his last medical certificate, the pilot reported having 4,000 hours of flight time, 50 hours of which were in the last 6 months.


The airplane was a 1958 Cessna 175, serial number 55391. The airframe logbooks were not located during this investigation. It could not be determined when the last inspection was performed on the airplane. Records located indicate the airplane was refueled with 15.1 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel at the Fond du Lac County Airport, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, at 1641, on the day of the accident. The person who fueled the airplane reported that this amount of fuel filled up the fuel tanks.

The engine was a 175 horsepower Continental GO-300 engine. The engine logbooks were not located during this investigation. It could not be determined when the last inspection was performed on the engine.

The last know radar position of N7901M was on November 10, 2002, at 1815:50. The position of the last radar target was Latitude 45:36:34 N, Longitude 086:35:30 W.

The airplane was registered to the pilot's wife, who was the passenger on board the airplane at the time of the accident. The registration certificate was issued on April 12, 2001.


At 1405, a person providing the aircraft registration number of N7091M, contacted the Kankakee Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) stating they were flying under visual flight rules (VFR) and they were trying to get to Beaver Island, Michigan. This person reported they departed from Missouri, and "we hit IFR just north of here and had to come back", and they were currently "stuck" at the Illinois Valley Regional Airport. The caller stated they were trying to determine if it was better fly up through Michigan or to go up through Wisconsin to get to Beaver Island.

The AFSS briefer reported that VFR flight was not recommended, but that the weather may change across Wisconsin and Lake Michigan. The briefer informed the caller about an Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) for Instrument Flight Rule conditions and turbulence. The briefer informed the caller of the cold fronts moving through the area and the weather associated with those fronts. The briefer provided the caller with the weather at Illinois Valley, Waukesha, Wisconsin; Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; Manitowoc, Wisconsin; Rochelle, Illinois; and Muskegon, Michigan.

A weather observation station, located at the Delta County Airport, Escanaba, Michigan, about 22 nautical miles (nm) west-northwest of the last radar return, recorded their 1815 observation as:

Wind: 350 degrees at 8 knots, direction variable from 320 degrees to 020 degrees

Visibility: 10 statute miles

Sky Condition: 800 feet broken

1,500 feet overcast

Temperature: 4 degrees Celsius

Dew Point: 3 degrees Celsius

Pressure: 29.47 inches of mercury

A weather observation station, located at ISQ, about 28 nm northeast of the last radar return, recorded their 1815 observation as:

Wind: 330 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 20 knots

Visibility: 10 statute miles

Sky Condition: 800 feet overcast

Temperature: 4 degrees Celsius

Dew Point: 2 degrees Celsius

Pressure: 29.43 inches of mercury

The National Weather Service (NWS) Analysis Chart for 0000Z (1800), depicted a low pressure system along a cold front over eastern Michigan bordering Lake Huron. The cold front extended southeastward across central Michigan through Indiana, southern Illinois, to southeast Missouri, and continuing off the chart through eastern Texas. A squall line extending from Lake Erie southwestward through western Tennessee was depicted ahead of the cold front. Behind the cold front in the vicinity of the last known position of N7091M was a trough of low pressure which extended from Lake Michigan westward through Wisconsin and southern Minnesota.

The NWS Weather Depiction Chart for 0100Z (1900), showed an area of instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions that extended over northern Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Surrounding this area was another area of marginal visual flight rules conditions across the majority of Iowa, Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, Michigan, northeast Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Visual flight rules conditions were depicted over Missouri, the majority of Illinois, and southern Wisconsin.

A NWS Radar Summary Chart for 0015Z (1815), showed a large band of echoes over eastern Michigan extending south and southwest through Tennessee associated with a squall line. This area contained thunderstorms and had several current tornado watches. Several other ands of echoes identified with rain showers and snow showers were depicted over Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. One small area of rain and rain showers was immediately south of the last known position of N7901M.

AIRMET Sierra update number 5 was issued at 2036Z (1436) and was valid until 0300Z (2100) for portions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron. The advisory warned of occasional low overcast ceilings less than 1,000 feet and visibility below 3 miles in stratus, precipitation, and mist. These conditions were expected to continue beyond 0300Z through 0900Z (0300).

AIRMET Zulu update 3 was also issued at the same time and included portions of Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. This advisory warned of occasional moderate rime or mixed icing in clouds and in precipitation above the freezing level to 20,000 feet. The freezing level was identified near 4,000 feet over the northwest portion of the advisory area and rose to near 12,000 feet over the southern portion of the region. These conditions were expected to continue beyond 0300Z through 0900Z (0300).


The wreckage has not been located as of the date of this report.

NTSB Probable Cause

Undetermined. Missing aircraft.

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