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N5581F accident description

Missouri map... Missouri list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Marshfield, MO
37.338658°N, 92.907121°W
Tail number N5581F
Accident date 22 Apr 1994
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-140
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On April 22, 1994, at 0530 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28- 140 crashed near Marshfield, Missouri. The airplane was destroyed. The two occupants of the airplane were both private pilots, and they both sustained fatal injuries. The personal flight originated at the Beckner Airport, Marshfield, with an intended destination of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. No flight plan was filed, and instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time. There was no record of a preflight weather briefing. The crash site was 12 miles south of the point of takeoff.

Witnesses who were in the woods near the crash site preparing to go turkey hunting reported it was very dark and foggy with a low overcast. The fire department estimated the visibility at 100 yards when they arrived on the scene about 15 minutes after the crash. Both of the turkey hunters said they heard an airplane flying around but couldn't see it. They both reported the sound of the airplane got louder and the plane came out of the clouds in a steep nose-down attitude, hit the ground, exploded in a fireball. One of the hunters estimated the angle as 60 degrees nose-down. The other hunter reported it looked like the landing light was on.


Both of the occupants were certificated pilots and were brothers.

It was not possible to determine who was flying the airplane, however, relatives of the pilots reported that the brother of the owner was most likely the flying pilot since he had more experience and his experience was more current than the owner.

The owner of the airplane held a private pilot certificate with airplane, single engine land rating. The certificate was issued on November 4, 1989. He held a third class medical certificate which had expired. The date of his last medical was May 4, 1989.

No pilot log book was located. From information contained in FAA records, and information from relatives, it was estimated that the total experience of the owner was about 100 hours.

The brother of the owner, who was the other occupant of the airplane held a private pilot certificate with airplane, single engine land rating. The certificate was issued on August 30, 1986. He held a third class medical certificate, with the restriction that he wear glasses for distant vision. No pilot log book was located. From information contained in FAA records, and information from relatives, the total experience of the brother of the owner was estimated to be 550 hours. Neither of the occupants had an instrument rating.


The airplane was a Piper PA-28-140 manufactured in 1968. The airplane logs and records were not located. No estimate of the aircraft total time, or the time since last inspection could be made.


Witnesses in the vicinity of the crash site reported low ceilings and restricted visibility due to fog.

The weather observation taken at the Springfield Regional Airport at 0540 was: ceiling, measured 300 feet overcast, visibility 3 miles in fog, temperature 52 degrees F, dew point 50 degrees F, wind 050 degrees at 8 knots, altimeter 30.08 inches Hg.

Sunrise was at 0629.


The airplane struck an oak tree approximately 14 inches in diameter, about 15 feet above the ground. After striking the oak tree, the airplane crashed into a heavily wooded ravine with a small creek at the bottom. The banks of the ravine sloped about 30 degrees, and the distance from the top to the bottom of the ravine was approximately 75 feet.

During the impact sequence, the wings, stabilator, vertical stabilizer, and engine separated from the cabin and empennage. The control cables for the ailerons, rudder, and stabilator were still attached to the cockpit control pedestal. All of the cables exhibited overload failure near the terminal end at their respective control surface.

The propeller had multiple bends and nicks. The propeller attaching bolts were sheared. The threaded portion of all the bolts were in the propeller mounting flange. The accessory case was knocked completely off the engine. The forward right cylinder was knocked off the engine.

The cockpit was completely destroyed. The housing for the attitude gyro was found. It contained the gyroscope rotor drum. There was heavy circumferential scoring on the inside of the drum.


The condition of the remains was not conducive to toxicological testing or autopsy on either occupant.


The wreckage was released to Mr. John Ferguson, brother of the owner.

NTSB Probable Cause


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