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N311DM accident description

North Dakota map... North Dakota list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Upham, ND
48.581673°N, 100.728194°W
Tail number N311DM
Accident date 26 Sep 1998
Aircraft type Champion BL-7-GCBC
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On September 26, 1998, at 1430 central daylight time, a Champion BL-7-GCBC, N311DM, piloted by a commercial pilot, was destroyed during a collision with the ground and post impact fire following a loss of control in flight while maneuvering over a field under harvest. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The flight departed a restricted landing area near Upham, North Dakota, exact time unknown.

According to one witness, the airplane made "...a low pass over his brother [who was] loading bales." The witness said the airplane began a climb after making the low pass. He said it climbed to about 400 or 500-feet above the ground. The witness said the airplane then "...appeared to be in a spin, vertical into the ground." The North Dakota Highway Patrol field report said that a witness observed the airplane "...go up at a steep angle, then [make] a left turn and fall in a spiral to the ground."

The on-scene examination was conducted by 2 Federal Aviation Administration Principal Maintenance Inspectors (PMI). Their investigation revealed no airframe, flight control or engine anomalies that would interfere with normal flight. One propeller blade was bent aft 90-degrees at the hub, about 6-inches of its tip was missing. The second blade had a slight aft bend at the tip. According to the PMI s report, "It appears the aircraft impacted almost vertically."

According to the pilot's logbook, he had a total time of 137.4 hours in the Champion 7-GCBC as of December 31, 1995. There were no other entries in the logbook after that date showing flight in this make and model airplane. The pilot's logbook showed the pilot received a biennial flight review on May 1, 1998. This 1.0 -hour flight was conducted in a Cessna 150. The entry does not show what type of maneuvers were checked by the flight instructor conducting the flight review. There were no other logbook entries after this date showing flight in the accident airplane or any other aircraft.

The pilot's logbook entries for the accident airplane does not show any flight maneuvers such as stalls or steep turns having been done in this airplane. The most recent logbook entry showing stall and spin flight maneuvers being performed was May 15, 1993. The flight was a biennial flight review in a Cessna 150TD. The entry reads, "B.F.R. completion including stall/spin awareness and recovery." The pilot had also been flying a Cessna 188B performing aerial application tasks. The only logbook entry for 1997 showed he had flown this make and model 97.8 hours.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's steep pull and failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which resulted in a stall/spin. Contributing factors were the pilot's lack of familiarity with the airplane's handling qualities, and a lack of recent experience in the airplane.

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