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N67ND accident description

Minnesota map... Minnesota list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Stephen, MN
48.449979°N, 96.872562°W
Tail number N67ND
Accident date 28 Jul 2003
Aircraft type American Champion (ACAC) 8KCAB
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On July 28, 2003, about 1430 central daylight time, an American Champion 8KCAB, N67ND, piloted by a commercial pilot, sustained substantial damage when the airplane impacted two power lines that cross the Red River near Stephen, Minnesota. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed during the flight. No flight plan was on file. The pilot and pilot rated passenger were uninjured. The local flight departed from Grand Forks International Airport (GFK), near Grand Forks, North Dakota, about 1404 and returned to GFK at 1513.

A loss of electrical power to a farm was reported to a power company in Warren, Minnesota. Two power lines that cross the Red River south of the Minnesota Highway 317 - North Dakota Highway 17 bridge were found broken. The power company replaced one 6A wire and one 8A wire. A power company representative estimated the height of the 6A wire to be about 60 feet above the water and the 8A wire to be about 56 feet above the water.

The pilot's written statement said:

While flying over the Red River, the aircraft struck a wire. The aircraft

had departed GFK at approximately 2:00 pm for a local flight. No injuries

occurred and the aircraft eventually landed at GFK."

The pilot rated passenger's written statement said:

He started talking about flying low over the river. This is when I

asked multiple times if it was safe and if he could get in trouble, to

which he replied that neither would be a problem. He said he

wasn't worried about it. He then told me not to worry about this and that

I would be okay, so I trusted him [and] went along with it. [The pilot]

started winding [with] the river, where he proceeded to have me take

control [and] try. I tried, didn't feel comfortable, and told him to take

control. He took control, and while he was maneuvering the airplane,

we hit the power lines. [The pilot] was sitting in back, and thought we

hit a bird. I was in front, and right when we hit the power lines, and I

think I saw three wires. I felt a jolt, but we continued flying with no

problems. At this point [the pilot] wasn't convinced we hit lines until I

looked out my left window and saw pieces of wire wrapping around

the wing support bar, saw the ripped hole in the wing connected to a

long trailing piece. He climbed out and started heading towards Minto,

where we would land, check damage, and call UND. As we

approached Minto, [the pilot] saw people in the pattern, and decided

to try Grafton, where there were also people in the pattern. At this point

we headed towards Stephens and landed on runway 17 and taxied off

to the right, where we shut down and got out. [The pilot and] I got out to

look at the damage, [the pilot] started to unwind the wires from the wing

while I helped pull the long wire off the taxiway. I asked [the pilot] about

the hole in the wing, I asked if the fuel tank could've been affected, and

proceeded to ask about the scratches in the prop. I felt it was unsafe to

fix and asked if UND should be called to come pick us up. He felt that

we had already flown as far as we had, and that we could make it back

safely. We took off [and] started heading [southwest] towards Minto

again, [the pilot] thinking we could call for a ride there. I went along with

it just wanting to land. In mid-flight he decided to go back to Grand Forks.

We got ATIS, called approach inbound [with] India, and landed [and]


A witness stated:

On July 28, [2003] at about 2:30 p.m. a green over white single engine plane,

top wing, was flying at or below tree top level following the course of the river.

As I was about to enter the house from the south side (entry) I heard a low flying

plane. Shortly I heard a sharp snap, I then was sure they had hit a power line

spanning the river. It was flying from a southerly to northerly direction. After the

snap I saw the plane fly upward and make a left turn to the west. I watched it until

it disappeared behind the trees.

The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures.

The airplane manufacturer stated that the airplane was produced with a Sacremento green, Juneau white burst, and black trim color scheme.

At 1437, the weather at Hallock Municipal Airport, near Hallock, Minnesota, located approximately 23 nautical miles north of the power lines was: Wind 230 degrees at 7 knots, gusts to 14 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky conditions scattered 5,500 feet.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from the transmission line and the pilot's continued operation with known deficiencies in equipment. Factors to the accident were the power lines and the low altitude the pilot was flying at.

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