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N195WR accident description

Missouri map... Missouri list
Crash location 37.033330°N, 90.433330°W
Nearest city Greenville, MO
37.127274°N, 90.450114°W
6.6 miles away
Tail number N195WR
Accident date 26 Sep 1996
Aircraft type Cessna 195
Additional details: Gray/Black/Red

NTSB Factual Report


On September 26, 1996, about 1130 central daylight time (cdt), a Cessna 195, N195WR, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following an in-flight breakup near Greenville, Missouri. The private rated pilot and three passengers sustained fatal injury. The personal, 14 CFR Part 91 flight originated in West Memphis, Arkansas, about 1035, with a planned destination of Creve Coeur, Missouri. Instrument meteorological conditions, severe rain, and thunderstorms were reported by witnesses in the vicinity of the accident site. A VFR flight plan was filed.

In a written statement, an Air Traffic Controller from the Memphis Air Route Traffic Control Center reported "N195WR checked in on frequency with not very good radios. Once communications were established, I advised him of the general conditions in the area of his destination. He advised that he was going to proceed north as far as he could and then stop." Another controller reported "I attempted a hand-off on N195WR to Kansas City Center. At approximately the same time, I lost radar and radio with the aircraft."

According to the Wayne County Sheriff, several people in the vicinity of the accident site reported that they heard the sound of an airplane flying overhead at "a low altitude." No eyewitnesses were located. The main wreckage was discovered on September 27, 1996, about 1330.


The pilot telephoned the Jonesboro Flight Service Station (FSS) at 1013 cdt. He reported that he landed in West Memphis and requested cancellation of his flight plan. He requested weather for a flight from West Memphis to Creve Coeur, Missouri. The briefer advised the pilot of "moderate turbulence... icing... visibilities one to two with thunderstorms and rain." The briefer advised "VFR flight is not recommended." The pilot reported "I'm gonna file that way and then I'll go just as close as I can get and when it gets bad I'll just shut it down."


The accident site was examined by an FAA inspector on September 27, 1996. The main wreckage was located in a wooded river valley at 37 degrees, 04.86 minutes north and 90 degrees, 27.13 minutes west in a wooded river valley. The left aileron was located about 500 yards northeast of the main wreckage. The NTSB on-scene investigation commenced October 7, 1996. The main wreckage had been moved from the accident site. The outboard nine feet of the left wing was subsequently located approximately 1/4 mile to the northeast of the accident site at 37degrees, 05.19 minutes' north and 90 degrees, 26.29 minutes west.

Examination of the accident site revealed a three foot deep crater about five feet by eight feet oriented on a heading of approximately 070 degrees. Foliage surrounding the crater was charred. Foliage to the northeast of the crater was wilted for approximately 30 feet. The trees immediately surrounding the crater exhibited no visible impact damage.

The main wreckage was severely fragmented and burned. All primary airframe components were located with the main wreckage except a portion of the left wing and the left aileron. The right wing and inboard portion of the left wing exhibited severe crushing corresponding to a near vertical aircraft pitch. The forward fuselage and cabin exhibited severe accordion bending. Portions of all empennage components were identified in the main wreckage. The components were severely fragmented and burned.

Continuity of primary flight control cables was established. No evidence of in-flight fire was discovered.

The engine case was shattered. All pistons and connecting rods remained attached to the crankshaft. The heads of several cylinders were fractured from the barrels. One blade of the propeller was fractured at the midspan and the other was fractured near the hub. Both blades exhibited minor torsional bending and chordwise scratching.

The left aileron was intact and exhibited moderate bending in an arc shape. The hinges were fractured forward of the pins. Visual inspection of the fractures revealed no evidence of progressive failure. The left wing spar was fractured nine feet three inches from the tip. The outboard wing section exhibited crushing to the leading edge near the tip. The spar segments and a portion of the wing surrounding the fracture were retained for laboratory examination.


The condition of remains was not conducive to toxicological testing or an autopsy.


The wing spar fragments and a section of the wing from the vicinity of the left wing fracture were examined at the NTSB laboratory by a NTSB metallurgist. In his factual report, he stated "examination of the fractures in the components revealed features typical of overstress separations. Deformation associated with the fracture in the upper and lower spar caps was indicative of a bending overstress separation in the downward direction (wing tip moving downward). No fatigue cracking or other types of progressive deterioration was noted."


Parties to the investigation were the Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office, St. Louis, Missouri, and the Cessna Aircraft Company. Following the on-scene portion of the investigation, the main wreckage was released to the Wayne County Sheriff. At the request of the owner, retained items were subsequently disposed of.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's decision to fly into known adverse weather which resulted in an overload failure and separation of the left wing.

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