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N4803A accident description

Minnesota map... Minnesota list
Crash location 45.560000°N, 93.609722°W
Nearest city Princeton, MN
45.606631°N, 93.578016°W
3.6 miles away
Tail number N4803A
Accident date 28 Oct 2013
Aircraft type Piper Pa 22-150
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

**Minor factual modifications were made to this report on 12/15/2014. To see a record of the changes refer to the public docket for this accident.**


On October 28, 2013, about 1245 central daylight time, a Piper PA-22-150, N4803A, impacted trees and terrain following a takeoff from the Princeton Municipal Airport (PNM), near Princeton, Minnesota. The pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed during a subsequent post impact ground fire. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flight. Day visual flight rules (VFR) conditions prevailed for the flight, which did not operate on a VFR flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and was destined for an unknown location in North Dakota.

The purpose of the flight was to travel to a hunting location. There were no witnesses who reported seeing the departure or accident. The airplane appears to have departed runway 33 and impacted the ground in a wooded area about 600 feet to the west of the approximate mid-point of the runway where a post impact fire occurred.


The 51-year old pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land and instrument ratings. The pilot's most recent third-class FAA medical certificate was issued on April 23, 2013, without any limitations. On the application for that medical certificate, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 625 hours of total flight time and 85 hours in the six months prior to the application. The pilot recorded in his logbook that he had accumulated 719.9 hours of total flight time and 12.8 hours of flight time in the 30 days prior to the accident. The logbook contained a tailwheel endorsement for the pilot dated October 6, 2012. The logbook showed that the pilot's latest flight review endorsement was dated September 12, 2013.


N4803A, a 1956 model Piper PA-22-150, was an externally braced high wing, airplane with serial number 22-3955. A major repair and alteration form, dated July 11, 1986, indicated that the airplane was modified with the installation of a 150-horsepower Lycoming O-320 engine. A logbook entry indicated the engine's serial number was L-8351-27. The engine drove a fixed pitch Sensenich M74DM57 propeller with serial number 18889. An endorsement in the airplane's logbook showed that an airplane annual inspection, which included the cabin heater, was conducted on February 5, 2013. At the time of that inspection, the airplane had accumulated 3,283.6 hours total time.

Another logbook endorsement, dated October 27, 2013, indicated that the airplane's 6:00-6 tires were removed and two 8:50-6 tires were installed in accordance with supplemental type certificate SA02672CH. Additionally, that endorsement showed that the airplane's tailwheel assembly was removed and a 3200-B bushwheel tailwheel assembly was installed in accordance with supplemental type certificate SA01233SE. The airplane accumulated 3,336.5 hours total time at the time of that endorsement.


At 1233, the recorded weather at PNM was: Wind 040 degrees at 8 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 4 degrees C; dew point -6 degrees C; altimeter 30:46 inches of mercury.


PNM was located about one mile southwest of Princeton, Minnesota, at a surveyed field elevation of 980 feet above mean sea level. The airport was serviced by one runway, 15/33. The runway was equipped with medium intensity runway edge lights and four-light precision approach path indicators. The runway was 3,900 feet by 75 feet, dry asphalt and had a published 0.1 per cent gradient.


A FAA inspector examined the accident site and airplane wreckage. Witness impact marks in the wooded area were consistent with the airplane traveling in a westerly direction. The airplane came to rest with its nose at about a 75-degree heading. The airplane was consumed by a post impact fire. All control surfaces were intact and continuity was established for all control systems. Indications from the on scene examination of the engine and propeller were consistent with the propeller being driven at time of impact. However, the amount of power applied could not be determined. No mechanical anomalies were discovered during the on scene investigation.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Mille Lacs County Medical Examiner's Office. The autopsy indicated blunt force and thermal injuries as the cause of death.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report. The report indicated "19 (%) CARBON MONOXIDE detected in Blood."


The FAA medical facts for pilots pamphlet, "Carbon Monoxide: A Deadly Menace," in part, stated:

There should be little or no carbon monoxide in the blood of

individuals who have not been exposed to smoke or other by-products

of combustion. People living in polluted urban environments may have

between 3-10% carboxyhemoglobin concentrations because of the

carbon monoxide contained in the smoke and fumes they inhale, while

a cigar smoker could have up to 15%. People in certain occupations

such as foundry workers, welders, mechanics, firefighters, and

tollbooth or tunnel attendants that expose them to products of

combustion may also have elevated carbon monoxide baseline levels.

A table in the pamphlet showed the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure and associated exposure levels in percent CO in blood. The table, in part, stated:

Percent CO in Blood.....Typical Symptoms


10-20............................Slight headache

The SA02672CH supplemental type certificate holder's certification plan for the modification of the PA-22 airplane with the installation of 8:50-6 size main landing gear tires was reviewed. The FAA approval of this certification plan for the 8:50-6 size tires did not include a flight test. The approval was based on a previous flight test with the FAA for a PA-22 airplane modification for the installation of both the 26-inch size tires and an 82-inch McCauley 1A200FA propeller. No changes to the performance section of the pilot operating handbook were published as part of the testing of the larger 26-inch size tires and larger propeller combination. The demonstrated performance during a flight test of the 8:50-6 size main landing gear tire installation with a type certificated 74-inch propeller was not conducted.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's loss of airplane control during takeoff.

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