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N5367B accident description

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Crash location 46.812778°N, 96.285277°W
Nearest city Hawley, MN
46.843016°N, 96.371733°W
4.6 miles away
Tail number N5367B
Accident date 29 Mar 2013
Aircraft type Cessna 152
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On March 29, 2013, about 1530 central daylight time, a Cessna 152, N5367B, was located near Hawley, Minnesota, about 15.5 nautical miles east of Moorhead Municipal Airport (JKJ), Moorhead, Minnesota, after it was reported missing. The non-instrument rated private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage. The airplane was registered to and operated by Superior Flying Services LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight and was not operating on a flight plan. Instrument meteorological conditions were forecast before the flight originated and were present throughout the day for the destination airport. The flight originated from Richard I Bong Airport (SUW), Superior, Wisconsin, about 0900, and was destined for JKJ.

According to the owner of Superior Flying Services LLC, the pilot arrived at the airport about 0800. About 0900, the owner moved the airplane outside from the hangar where it was kept and topped it off with fuel. He did not know where the pilot was going and said that the pilot wanted to use the airplane for the weekend, and that the pilot was going to keep the airplane in a hangar in Moorhead, Minnesota.

There was no record of a weather briefing through a flight service station or a direct user access terminal service. According to a Federal Aviation Admiration (FAA) inspector, a designated pilot examiner (DPE) said he saw the pilot obtaining weather on a computer at SUW prior to his departure on the day of the accident. The DPE said that he told the pilot if the weather looks as good at his destination as it does at SUW, then he will have a good flight. The pilot said that the weather did not look good at JKJ.

There were no air traffic control services provided to N5367B for the flight.

According to the Clay County Sheriff Incident Report, the pilot was planning on flying to the Moorhead, Minnesota, to visit his family. About 0952, a family member received a text message from the pilot stating the he was flying over Park Rapids, Minnesota. About 1015, there was a further conversation between the family member and the pilot discussing fog in Moorhead, Minnesota. The family member asked the pilot to return to the Duluth, Minnesota, area or land at the Park Rapids airport due to fog issues, but the pilot continued the trip as planned to JKJ.

A husband of a witness near the accident site stated that his wife said there was "heavy fog" in the area about 1030.

An alert notice (ALNOT) for a missing aircraft was issued at 1400 due to a family concern. The airplane wreckage was located at 1530 by the Clay County Sheriff's Office during an aerial search with the aid of two local pilots. The wreckage was located about 5 nautical miles and 140 degrees from Hawley Municipal Airport (04Y), Hawley, Minnesota, and about 15.5 nautical miles and 095 degrees from JKJ. There were no reports of a signal from the airplane's emergency locator transmitter (ELT).


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating issued November 8, 2012. He passed his Airman Knowledge Test with a score of 88 on his first attempt. The subject area knowledge codes for questions he answered incorrectly were:

PLT012: Calculate aircraft performance – time/speed/distance/course/fuel/wind

PLT019: Calculate pressure altitude

PLT099: Recall aeromedical factors – scanning procedures

PLT147: Recall airport operations – visual glideslope indicators

PLT163: Recall airspace requirements – visibility/cloud clearance

PLT165: Recall altimeter – effect of temperature changes

PLT301: Recall inversion layer – characteristics

On November 12, 2012, the pilot passed the test for his pilot certificate and rating on his first attempt. The test was administered by the DPE, who talked to the pilot on the day of the accident. The test duration was reported on the application for the certificate and rating as 1.8 hours of ground and 1.2 hours of flight. The pilot reported on the application a total time of 57.5 hours, 46.7 hours if instruction received, 10.8 hours of pilot-in-command (PIC), 7.8 hours of cross county instruction received, and 5.7 hours of cross country PIC.

Pilot logbook entries indicate that there were only two flights, dated December 23, 2012, and February 24, 2012, after the pilot was issued his pilot certificate. The December 23, 2012, flight was in a Cessna 152, N24242, from SUW to XVG to JKJ to SUW and was 4.4 hours in duration. The February 24, 2012, flight was in a Cessna 172, no registration number was entered, from SUW to SUW and was 1.2 hours in duration. As of February 24, 2012, the pilot accumulated a total flight time of about 63.6 hours.

The owner of Superior Aviation LLC, stated that the pilot received his training from the previous owner of Superior Aviation LLC. The owner stated that the pilot received a private pilot certificate during the previous summer and estimated that the pilot had a total flight time of about 70-80 hours.

There was no FAA record of previous accidents, incidents, or enforcement actions involving the pilot.


The Chicago Area Forecast issued March 29, 2013 at 0445 with clouds and weather valid until 1700 and outlook valid from 1700-2300 reported:

North Dakota

Northwestern: overcast – 2,500 feet; tops – 3,500 feet; visibility – 3 statute miles; mist. At 1200, broken – 3,500 feet; broken – 6,000 feet; tops – 16,000 feet; visibility – 3 statute miles; mist. At 1500, broken – 4,500 feet; isolated light rain showers. Outlook – visual flight rules (VFR).

Southwestern: scattered – 3,500 feet; broken 12,000; tops – 15,000 feet. Until 0900; visibility - occasional 3 statute miles; mist. At 1500, broken – 12,000; tops – 16,000; isolated light rain showers; outlook – VFR.

Northeastern: overcast – 2,500 feet; tops - 3,500 feet; visibility – 3 statute miles, mist. Becoming at 1821, broken 10,000 feet; tops – 16,000 feet. Outlook - VFR.

Southeastern: overcast – 2,500; tops – 3,500 feet; visibility – 3 statute miles, mist. At 1500, broken – 3,500 feet; overcast – 10,000; tops – 16,000. Outlook – marginal VFR; moderate rain showers and mist.

South Dakota

Northwestern: scattered – 12,000 feet; visibility – occasionally 5 statute miles, mist. At 0900, sky clear. At 1600, broken – 12,000 feet, tops – 16,000 feet. Outlook – VFR.

Southwestern: scattered – 14,000, scattered cirrus. At 1500, scattered – 10,000 feet. Outlook - VFR.

Northeastern: broken – 6,000 feet; tops – 11,000; visibility – 3 statute miles, mist. At 1000, sky clear. Outlook – VFR. At 1900, marginal VFR, mist.

Southeastern: scattered – 10,000 feet. Until 1000, visibility – occasional 3 statute miles, mist. At 1200, scattered cirrus. Outlook - VFR.



Extreme West: broken 2000 feet; tops – 2,500 feet; visibility – 3 statute miles, mist. At 1000, scattered – 2,500 feet. Outlook - VFR.

Remainder: broken – 3,500 feet; tops – 7,000 feet. At 1000, scattered – 5,000 feet. Outlook - VFR.

Northeastern: scattered – 6,000 feet. At 1000, scattered – 4,000 feet. Outlook - VFR.


Extreme west: broken – 2,000 feet, tops – 4,000 feet; visibility – 3 statute miles, mist. At 1000, broken – 9,000 feet; tops – 12,000. Outlook – VFR. At 2000, marginal VFR, mist.

Remainder: broken 6,500 feet; tops 12,000; visibility occasional 3 statute miles, mist. At 0900, broken 9,000. Outlook – VFR.

Southeastern: broken – 9,000 feet; tops 12,000. At 1200: broken 6,000 feet. Outlook - VFR.

The Hector International Airport (FAR), Fargo, North Dakota, terminal forecast (FT) reports from 0600 indicted instrument flight rules conditions beyond the time of the accident.

The FAR report issued at 1142 reported in part:

From March 29, 2013, at 0700 to March 30, 2012, at 1100: wind 340 degrees at 3 knots; visibility ¼ mile; fog; vertical visibility 100 feet. Temporarily from 1200 to 1600: visibility 1 statute mile; mist; overcast – 400 feet above ground level. From 1600: wind variable at 3 knots; mist; overcast – 300 feet…

The FAR FT issued at 1009 reported in part:

From March 29, 2013 at 1000 to March 30, 2012 at 0700: wind from 340 degrees at 3 knots; visibility – 3 statute miles; mist; overcast 400 feet above ground level. From 1200: wind variable at 3 knots; visibility – 4 statute miles; mist; overcast 800 feet above ground level…

The JKJ automated surface observing system (ASOS) recorded instrument flight rules conditions from the departure time of the flight and beyond the time that the airplane was located. The JKJ ASOS reported:

At 0834: wind – 340 degrees at 3 knots; visibility – ¾ statute miles; mist; broken – 100 feet above ground level; temperature – -10 degrees Celsius; dew point - -10 degrees Celsius; altimeter 30.21 inches of mercury; remarks – visibility ¼ statute mile

At 0915: wind – calm; visibility – ¼ statute mile; freezing fog; overcast – 200 feet above ground level; temperature - -7 degrees Celsius; dew point - -7 degrees Celsius


The 1979 Cessna 152, serial number 15283850, was registered to Superior Flying Services LLC on May 29, 2012. The airplane was powered by a Lycoming O-235-L2C, serial number L-1729915, engine. Logbook entries dated November 29, 2012, stated that the airplane and engine underwent an annual inspection at tachometer time of 8,460.2.

Logbook entries dated March 28, 2013, stated that the airplane and engine received a 100-hour inspection at a tachometer time of 8,559.1.


The airplane wreckage path was approximately oriented on a 050 degree heading and was 267 feet in length. The GPS coordinates of the fuselage was 046 degrees 48.761 minutes North and 096 degrees 17. 113 minutes West, and the GPS elevation was 1,227 feet. The fuselage was in an upright position near the northeastern edge of the wreckage path and oriented on a tail to nose magnetic heading of about 030 degrees. The southwestern edge of the wreckage path contained the airplane's right wing tip.

The engine cowling and airplane surfaces did not exhibit evidence of fire, soot, or oil.

Examination of the flight control system confirmed flight control continuity from the control surfaces to cockpit controls. The flaps were in the retracted position.

The wing fuel caps were in place and secured on each wing. The fuel selector was in the "both" position. The right and left wing fuel tanks contained a liquid consistent with 100 low lead (100LL) aviation fuel that was in excess of the unusable fuel for the airplane. Actuation of the engine primer drew and expelled a liquid consistent with 100LL. The gascolator and carburetor screen were unobstructed. The carburetor float was consistent with white plastic and did not contain fuel with the float and was able to move freely. The carburetor bowl did not contain debris and did not contain liquid consistent with fuel. During wreckage recovery, the area had a smell consistent with 100LL fuel.

The instrument panel sustained impact damage. The magneto key switch with the key in place was in the "both" position. The master switch was in the "on" position. The transponder indicated a code of 1200. The engine primer was in locked into the in position. The flap control handle was in the zero degree position. The turn coordinator was indicated a right bank indication to the limit of the gauge. Examination of the attitude indicator gimbal and gyro revealed that they were able to move freely. The gyro surface exhibited rotation scoring over approximately a ¼ of its surface.

The pitot tube and line to the pitot tube were unobstructed and did not contain liquid. The stall warning activated when suction was placed on the wing leading edge of the stall warning sensor.

The propeller was separated from the propeller hub and exhibited twisting and leading edge damage consistent with power.

The ELT switch was in the "armed" position and the antenna was disconnected. The antenna did not exhibit damage or deformation consistent with it being pulled from the ELT.

The Hobbs meter indicated 8,064.1, and the tachometer indicated 8,561.3.


An autopsy of the pilot was conducted by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office, St. Paul, Minnesota. The cause of death was reported as: Multiple traumatic injuries due to light aircraft crash.

The FAA Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was negative for all substances tested.

NTSB Probable Cause

The noninstrument-rated pilot’s improper decision to conduct a flight into known instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in a loss of control.

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